rose on piano

When you turn on the radio, most of the songs you hear about love have to do with unrequited love or a nasty break-up—they deal in sadness and heartbreak. Or when they do venture into happier times, it’s about new relationships flourishing.

Rarely do you hear songs celebrating the more realistic aspects of love and relationships—the hard work and commitment that goes into maintaining a relationship.

In this list about real love, there’s no puppy-love or heartbreak, but rather songs that celebrate the intimacy and struggle that comes with a loving long-term relationship.

Adam Cohen – What Other Guy

This song revels in the intimacies of knowing your partner better than anyone else does, and celebrates all the things you learn about someone through close proximity and years together. No one else has seen your partner the way you have seen your partner, and there is something inherently special and bonding about that.

I know what you look like in the morning
Your kisses are soft and warm
I can draw you with my eyes closed
See you with nothing on but the radio
I know how many years of French you took
Your favorite movies, your favorite books
I know what really gets you going…glowing

The Julie RuinJust My Kind

This fun, upbeat song shows the happiness and contentment that comes with loving your partner and knowing with absolute certainty that there’s no one else you’d rather spend your life with. The fact that the songwriter, Kathleen Hanna, has been with her husband, Adam Horovitz (DJ Ad-Rock from the Beastie Boys) for almost 20 years makes this song even cuter.

So many summers have gone
So much that we’ve been through
Don’t you know that I’m just
Getting started with you
Don’t you know you make me laugh when
I want to cry
But even more to the point is the fact
You’re just my kind (just my kind)

Royal Wood – I’m So Glad

This song is about persevering through hard times and growing old together, safe in the knowledge that as long as you keep working on your love, you’ll be able to get through anything together. It’s also a great reminder to show appreciation for your partner, because what would your life be like if you’d never met them?

We may feel like folding
But as long as love is holding
The hands of me and you
The waves can be raging
For together we’ll be aging
And as long as I’m with you

Death Cab For Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark

This song is about eternal love, about knowing that you’ve done everything in this life together and will meet again in the afterlife—it’s about being so in love that your relationship transcends reality. It always makes me think of those couples who are married for 60 years and then die within hours or days of each other, as if the only thing tethering them to this world is each other.

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of our shows are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It’s nothing to cry about
‘Cause we’ll hold each other soon

Jack Johnson – Do You Remember

This beautiful tribute to marriage chronicles the relationship of two people who are so in love that time just flies by. It’s about appreciating your relationship in the here and now, while also looking back at everything that has made your relationship what it is.

Do you remember when we first moved in together?
The piano took up the living room
You’d play me boogie-woogie, I played you love songs
You’d say we’re playing house, now you still say we are