(Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart. Despite the fact that you normally try to avoid putting yourself in the spotlight, I hope you like this gift more than that blouse I gave you in our first year of marriage — which demonstrated why color-blind men should not buy clothing for their wives.)
When I started this project back in June, I had a partial list of the songs that would appear on the blog, but no particular order for most of them. I knew that “Coal Miner’s Daughter” would be first, and that Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” would be last (for reasons explained below). Both are country songs, though the list of songs on the blog includes more old standards and 1970s rock songs than country music.
I originally intended to produce a blog with 100 songs, and I figured that I’d release a post every two or three days to meet that. But the list of songs I wanted to include kept growing, so I expanded the planned total to 125; that seemed like a nice, round number. Yet even that wasn’t quite enough. So with this final post, the blog features 132 songs — four for each of the 33 years we have been married. I could have included even more, of course. A lot of great songs shared by readers didn’t make my personal list. Nor did a lot of other wonderful love songs, including many on this “top 100” list.
I had no idea who might see the blog, let alone contribute to it. (Several dozen friends, family and complete strangers have shared their songs.) I didn’t know what readers’ motivations might be, and having some experience with the lunacy of some folks who read blogs, I blocked comments for the individual posts. My own motivations (and a bit about how I chose the songs shared on the blog) are explained here.
The final song here is the fourth one (others at #42, #59 and #83) from the first tape Joanna ever gave me. She snuck it into my suitcase before I went to a conference, and then told me to listen to it while I was on the road. She had forwarded the tape to this then-new song — what we have since considered to be “our song.” More than a decade later, we’re “still together, still going strong.”
I’ve noted previously that Joanna and I weren’t guaranteed to make it — but then, who is? As I noted on a former student’s blog a while back, we have had several friends and some family members who married their high school or college sweethearts; some of those later divorced. My parents celebrated their 56th anniversary the day before my first post on this blog. Several of our best friends are in happy long-term same-sex relationships (we’ve each attended same-sex weddings during the past year), and at least two friends over the age of 45 have never married (and seem happy and fulfilled). We’ve seen some folks try repeatedly without success, while others have apparently given up.
There may be good predictors of whether a marriage will succeed, but I certainly have no particular wisdom to offer other than these two things: Marriage, like almost anything else — your car, your house, your familial relationships, your career, etc. — should bring much more happiness than pain. And, again like almost anything else, a marriage needs regular attention and care.
To anyone else who happens to read this blog, I wish you luck and much love. To my wife, I simply say this: Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart. Thank you for sharing the past 33 years with me. You are still the one I want for life. I love you.
“You’re Still the One” lyrics here, with video below.
No, this isn’t a typical love song. But it is the featured song and the title of the movie my wife and I attended on our first real date, which is why it’s first on this list. See the lyrics here or a version of the video (which features original artist Loretta Lynn along with Sheryl Crow and Miranda Lampert) below.
(Feb. 9 update: By the time I revealed the blog to Joanna, the original video had disappeared. I’ve replaced it with another Loretta Lynn version below, or you can see the three women do it during a tribute to Lynn here.)