Written by One Love Foundation Writer’s Corps member Julie Oltman in partnership with NO MORE. One Love is a foundation dedicated to teaching young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Whether we like it or not, winter is here. The days are short and the air is frigid; we’re in the midst of the coldest months. But since we’ll be here for a bit longer, we might as well enjoy it. That’s why we’re sharing our very own #LoveBetter playlist, comprised of intimate, cozy love songs that pair perfectly with a seat by the fireplace and a warm blanket – and remind us what healthy relationships look like.
“Love and Some Verses” – Iron & Wine
One of the more gentle tracks on Iron & Wine’s 2004 album, Our Endless Numbered Days, “Love and Some Verses” is a simple yet graceful expression of compassion. In few words, the song creates a dream-like image of a deep, meaningful romance. And let’s face it… there’s something about Sam Beam’s voice that just calms the soul.
Why this inspires us to #LoveBetter: While “Love and Some Verses” paints the portrait of a fairytale romance, Beam sings of commitment and communication, eager to express himself to his partner: “Love to say this to your face / ‘I’ll love you only’”
“The Wine We Drink” – Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors
“The Wine We Drink” is uniquely personal in that Drew Holcomb not only wrote it for his wife, but sings it together with her. It’s a song about the little things; the often forgotten things that can define a relationship. The lyrics are a reminder that the world has flaws, and people have differences – and these imperfections can be the thing that makes your relationship work.
Why this inspires us to #LoveBetter: It’s important to note that no relationship is perfect. Holding out for that storybook romance or trying to force perfection can lead to an unhealthy relationship. Communication and compassion are key here: cherishing the little things that make your partner unique can lead to a stronger, closer relationship. “It’s in the wine we drink / Dirty dishes in the kitchen sink / And the lights go out ‘til the sun comes up, we are not alone / You are the one thing that I know”
“Unconditionally” – Katy Perry
A beautiful departure from the upbeat pop music we love, Katy Perry’s ballad, “Unconditionally,” perfectly captures the compassionate love we feel for someone we really care about. The lyrics are a reminder that no matter what we believe our flaws are, the right partner will make us feel comfortable in our own skin.
Why this inspires us to #LoveBetter: No one is perfect but the right partner will accept you, flaws and all. Making sure you’re confident and comfortable with the person you’re with is the hallmark of a healthy relationship. “Unconditional, unconditionally/ I will love you unconditionally / There is no fear now/ Let go and just be free/ I will love you unconditionally”
“The Universe” – Gregory Alan Isakov
Gregory Alan Isakov has an interesting knack for bringing up a practical point in a song full of metaphors. “The Universe,” from Isakov’s 2013 The Weatherman, offers an optimistic view of an imperfect world. It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives of this world – but a strong, compassionate connection between two people can be all the encouragement necessary to turn those thoughts around.
Why this inspires us to #LoveBetter: Respect and loyalty are two signs of a healthy relationship, and Isakov demonstrates them in “The Universe.” It’s important to know that while your relationship won’t always be easy, your partner should value you and have your back even in the hard times. “The Universe, she’s wounded / But she’s still got infinity ahead of her / She’s still got you and me”
“First Day of My Life” – Bright Eyes
“First Day of My Life” conveys a feeling of truly seeing, feeling, understanding someone for the first time. Frontman Conor Oberst is known for his vivid, emotional lyrics, and this fan-favorite certainly pulls on the heart strings.
Why this inspires us to #LoveBetter: Healthy relationships don’t just happen…. they take work. Both partners must be willing to work together to build a strong relationship, and it’s important to know where you and your partner stand on that fact. “I’d rather be working for a paycheck / than waiting to win the lottery”
“In Your Arms Again” – Josh Ritter
Throughout his 20 year career, Josh Ritter has mastered the art of storytelling through song. While the lyrics in “In Your Arms Again” are pretty straightforward, they convey a strong message of the power of being together.
Why this inspires us to #LoveBetter: Equality and independence are vital pieces in building a healthy relationship. You shouldn’t have to put your dreams on hold or miss out on doing the things you want because of your partner. In a healthy relationship, both partners encourage each other to be the best people they can be. “All those plans I had / All they did was hold me down / Those plans I had / They can’t hold me back / Now that I am back in your arms again”
“XO” – Beyoncé
From her start with Destiny’s Child to her mega successful solo career, Beyoncé has always lent her voice toward championing equality (especially in relationships). In XO, the songstress turns her attention to the joys of being in the moment with a partner—a difficult feat in the age of information.
Why this inspires us to #LoveBetter: It’s easy to become wrapped up in our devices instead of paying attention to our partner however It’s incredibly important to be present and engaged when you’re spending quality time with your sweetie. “We don’t have forever / Baby daylight’s wasting / You better kiss me /Before our time is run out”
Everyone deserves a healthy relationship. Click here to learn more about how to improve your relationships—romantic, friendship, familial, and more. And check out how One Love reimagined Valentine’s day to bring awareness to unhealthy relationships.
Want to help us continue the conversation and inspire others to #LoveBetter? Add your favorite songs about healthy relationships to the #LoveBetter Spotify Playlist below. (Not sure how to add songs? Click the green Spotify logo below to open the playlist in Spotify, then follow and add songs to the playlist!*)
*Please note that we reserve the right the remove songs.