Music can help us get over the pain of a breakup quicker — or revel in the pleasure of a committed patrnership longer.
Researchers from Freie Universitat Berlin reported in a study that people enjoy sad music after a breakup because it allows them to vent their own emotional sadness quicker without actually experiencing sadness, which is a healthy way to get over a breakup.
Similarly, happy music makes people feel, well, happier. A study from the University of Missouri found that upbeat songs improve people’s moods, which improves their health, income and, most relevant to this story, relationship satisfaction.
This happens because happy music makes people get excited about being happy. And, as the study reported, people enjoy the idea of being happy more than actually being happy. So when couples listen to happy music, they're excited for the future of their relationship, the study said.
“Although pursuing personal happiness may be thought of as a self-centered venture, research suggests that happiness relates to a higher probability of socially beneficial behavior, better physical health, higher income and greater relationship satisfaction,” said the study’s leader, author Yuna Ferguson.
So this shows that both sad and happy music can affect the way we think about relationships. And songs from across multiple genres have relationship lessons, no matter what stage you’re in. Here are 18 songs that you and your significant other can enjoy to keep your relationship fresh.
Note: If this list doesn’t help you, NPR can help you find your ideal romantic song.
“You’ll Ask For Me” — Tyler Hilton
This song is all about staying with the one you love even when things are dire. The song covers the early part of a relationship when couples are still feeling each other out. Hilton focuses on how he doesn’t want his love to judge him by what she hears from others, but by the man he truly is. This could be an inspiring lesson for you and your partner, too, since you sometimes have to look past the cover to understand the book.
“Heartbeats” — Jose Gonzalez
When you’re in love with someone, it’s more than just relying on your own two shoulders. Sometimes, you have to ask for help from the “two hands from above” to inspire you. Gonzalez’s words express that no matter what, you have God and your significant other to lean on in times of trouble.
“Time to Run” — Lord Huron
This soft indie rock song talks about the lengths people go to make relationships work. Sometimes that love can be so strong that you’ll want to run away together because “it all makes sense,” the lyrics suggest.
“Surrender” — Angels & Airwaves
Love requires you to keep trying no matter how dire the circumstances. “Surrender” is all about never giving up and always fighting to keep your relationship strong.
“Heart in Hand” — Vertical Horizon
Sometimes you have to approach your relationship with your heart in your hand. As Vertical Horizon puts it, you have to be willing to open up to your lover if you want your lover to be there for you, too. And, even if you stop believing in love, there’s always someone to pick you up and inspire you to love again.
“Free Like You Make Me” — Cary Brothers
Have you ever wondered what your relationship will be like at the end of the world? “Free Like You Make Me” tackles that theme, with the main singer saying he will sacrifice himself for his love. He assures her that everything will be OK and there’s nothing more important than the love of your life.
“Simple Song” — The Shins
Love is simple. It’s the most important thing we do, and it makes us incredibly happier with life, The Shins’ song suggests. This upbeat and peppy love song wants people to understand that going through life alone can be rough, but love will help you conquer it all.
“All This Time” — One Republic
Ever think God or fate is controlling your life? Well, so does One Republic. This song is all about believing that love will come your way. The one you’re meant to be with has been waiting for you, too. And, if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. Though this song is slower, it picks up at points and will make you and your partner appreciate all of life’s events that pushed you together.
“Baby Blue” — Badfinger
You can make a mistake in a relationship. But as “Baby Blue” suggests, you should try to atone for your mistakes and apologize. Arguments don’t have to be the end of relationship. In fact, they may be only the beginning.
“Don’t Stop Believin’ ” — Journey
Journey’s all-time classic is about never giving up on love. It’s also telling listeners to fight for that love, even if the odds seem stacked against you, belief can empower you to make things work.
“Champagne Supernova” — Oasis
Sometimes you have to wait for love, but eventually it will find you, Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” suggests. It also talks about how people and life changes constantly, but eventually people, fated to be together, find each other.
“Soldier” — Gavin Degraw
Want your partner to know you’ll always be there for them? “Soldier” by Gavin Degraw is the song for you. Degraw sings about how he’s a soldier for the woman he loves. He’s willing to defend her at any moment and help her through any crisis. Telling your partner you will do the same may just bring a smile to their face.
“Forever” — Chris Brown
Chris Brown’s “Forever” is a go-to for those in love. Look no farther than this viral wedding video to see the power this song has on couples. It’s all about being in love, celebrating that love and knowing that things will pay off for you — forever.
“First Day of My Life” — Bright Eyes
Your relationship may be the first day of your new life, which is why Bright Eyes’ popular song will hit home with you. Your new life could have begun when you first saw your partner, or after you got married, as the song suggests. Regardless, this song shows that there’s a change people go under once they’ve found a new love, which you and your partner probably did.
“Slow Your Breath Down” — Future of Forestry
OK, take a breath. Relationships can move quickly, but it’s always important to remember to slow down. Future of Forestry’s lyrics talk about giving your partner everything he or she wants, and that it’s important to take on your love’s burdens. Take your relationship slowly, make sure you’re in a relationship you want to be in and trust love, the lyrics say. A simple breath can help you trust your significant other.
“All I Want Is You” — Barry Louis Polisar
It’s simple — when you love someone, make sure to tell them. Barry Louis Polisar does this with his song, from the movie “Juno.” Don’t waste time playing games, Polisar suggests, just tell the person you love how you feel.
“Swing Life Away” — Rise Against
“Swing Life Away” is the perfect song to understand what it’s like to be young and in love. Lyrics about living in a place where they “get by just fine here on minimum wage” and “live on front porches” paint this picture of a small American town. This shows that love can happen anywhere, and it can mean the world to whoever feels it.
“Call Me Maybe” — Carly Rae Jepsen
Harken back to the early days of your relationship when you worried about whether to call your significant other or to ask them out on a date with this 2012 classic. Even if you and your partner didn’t go through this struggle, you’ll surely have fun dancing around to Jepsen’s slick lyrics.