Six Love Songs That Are Actually About Real Love

love songsDo you hate Valentine’s Day?  I do.  Wait, alright.  I hate genocide.  I shouldn’t put Valentine’s Day on the same level as genocide, that’s not right.

But I don’t like this day, it’s too much, creeps me out.  And here’s the thing.  I’m a really romantic guy, and I’m in a great, loving relationship with the woman of my dreams.  Seems like this holiday is made for a person like me, right?

I think I dislike Valentine’s Day because I know what real love is.

Real love is beautiful and life-giving and awe-inspiring, but not for any of the reasons the romance-industrial-complex promotes this time of year.

Real love is about experiencing all the joys and sorrows and heart-wrenching decisions and possibilities and failures and new beginnings that life delivers, with the person you choose and re-choose as partner.  You long for each other and satisfy each other and misunderstand each other and help each other and betray each other and forgive each other and remember each other’s glory.

And you hold hands and kiss, because man, do you ever need it.  It’s the greatest thing ever, and appropriately, it’s messy and unbelievably difficult.

And the other day when I was at Target, I didn’t see none of that in the six aisles of Valentine’s crap I had to navigate in order to find some dish soap.  Which kind of makes me think I don’t like Valentine’s Day.

I do like love songs, though.  Especially when they’re about real love.  This is a tiny percentage of all the love songs that are written, but I’m an activist who loves protest songs, so I thought I’d share with you, dear readers, on this Valentine’s Day, my favorite love songs, that are actually about real love.  You probably won’t hear any of these on the radio this week, but you don’t really listen to the radio anymore, do you?

Here you go: Love Songs that are about real love.  Enjoy!

Woman of Faith, by Eddie From Ohio

Real love is about making a home together.

Familiarity, trust, rhythm, breathing, working, living together – day in, day out.  At some point in your hold out your hand, gesture toward life and ask, “Do you want to do this with me?”  If you get a Yes, you’ve got the next day together, and if you’re lucky, several thousand days later, you still have each other.  And by then, you know a lot more of the truth about this person, and the fact that this person knows you that deeply as well isn’t nearly as terrifying as it seems like it should be.

I wake up and check my senses,

All have come around,

One, two, three, four, five, all here,

The sixth sleeps next to me, sleeping sound. 

I Believe in Love, by the Indigo Girls

Real love is about Loyalty and Commitment.

You stick together, even though your relationship doesn’t look like Jack and Rose or The Notebook or whatever perfect memory you have of your romantic beginnings.  You don’t tolerate abuse, and you make each other shape up when that’s called for, but you don’t cut and run just because the shine has worn off, either.  Maybe you couldn’t help falling in love way back when, but at some point you made a commitment with your eyes wide open, and now you’re sticking with it, because you promised.

After all that we’ve been through,

I could not see giving up,

Despite the picture of our coffee,

Growing colder in the cup

I wanna say that underneath it all,

You are my friend,

And the way that I fell for you,

I’ll never fall that way again

I still believe, despite our differences,

What we have’s enough

I believe in you, and I believe in love.

The Beauty of the Rain, by Dar Williams

Real love is about discovery and transformation.

When your dreams come true, you not only get everything you ever hoped for; you get more than you bargained for.  You wonder if you’re equal to the responsibilities of this thing you’ve fallen into, and through a painful process of self re-creation, you find out that, yes, you are.

But when she gave you more to find

You let her think she’d lost her mind

And that’s all on you

Feeling helpless if she asked for help

Or scared you’d have to change yourself


And you can’t deny this room will keep you warm

You can look out of your window at the storm

But you watch the phone and hope it rings

You’ll take her any way she sings

Or how she calls

The beauty of the rain

Is how it falls, how it falls, how it falls

Losing Lisa, by Ben Folds

Real Love often involves total ineptitude.

I don’t know who put that idea into your head that you are the most sensitive and perceptive and compassionate romantic partner in the world, but you need to get over that nonsense, like yesterday.  Sometimes you just don’t know what you’re doing.  You don’t know what’s going on, you don’t understand what’s happening with your lover, you say and do the wrong things and it’s a mess.  If you really love this person, you’re going to have to work with this.  It’s a total pain.

Black tears are falling down her face

And I am wrong

Black tears are falling and she won’t say what I’ve done

She’s sitting here beside me, then she is gone

Black tears are falling, falling

1-95 by Fountains of Wayne

Real love brings heartache and longing.

When you love another, you hurt when you don’t have her or him.  When you’re apart, separated by geography, emotional storms, misplaced priorities or mid-life crises, your heart aches.  It’s hard.

This song by Fountains of Wayne, has the most beautiful way of saying three tender words – I miss you.

They sell posters of girls washing cars

And unicorns and stars

And Guns N’ Roses album covers

They’ve got most of the Barney DVDs

Coffee mugs and tees

That say Virginia Is For Lovers

But it’s not

Round here it’s just for truckers who forgot

To fill up on gasoline

Back up near Aberdeen

It’s a nine hour drive

From me to you

South on 1-95

And I’ll do it ’til the day that I die If I need to

Just to see you

Just to see you

I Am Yours, by Tracy Chapman

Real love is about vulnerability and trust.

It’s exquisite and beautiful to share all your brilliance and honor and compassion and dreams with another person.  But if you really do that, I mean REALLY, you have to give them the whole package, and let’s be honest, you come with fears and wounds and doubts and bad habits, too.  Real love is about really loving a real person.  It’s a treasure, and it’s serious business.

When all my hopes and dreams

Have been betrayed

I stand before you

My hands are empty

I am yours if you are mine

When I fall and stumble

Flat on my face

When I’m shamed and humbled

In disgrace

I am yours if you are mine

When voices call me

To question my faith

When misperception

Taints my love with hate

I am yours if you are mine

When time decides

It won’t stop for me

When the hawks and vultures

Are circling

I am yours if you are mine


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