This post was adapted from an original post on MomAdvice.com.
Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. (I know, I know, I don’t look that old! I’m not. I was a child when I got married. Obviously.)
To celebrate, my husband and I drove to Chicago last weekend and saw Hamilton. With the bathroom stops my husband was kind enough to take without complaint, it was an eight-hour drive each way. We could have flown, but driving costs less. Plus, we like road trips.
We spent the drive talking and listening to a few podcasts. But for a long stretch on the way home, we simply sat back and sang along to the oldies station. I’m not saying we belong on American Idol (obviously, since we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary, we are too old!), but it sounded pretty sweet to my ears.
There’s just something special about sharing music with someone you love. And for us, so many different songs and different types of music make us think of our relationship and each other. For example, I’d downloaded Ben Rector’s latest album to play for my husband. After seeing him in concert, I just knew Mark would love Ben Rector’s music as much as I did. Like I told him, if we were to write a bunch of songs as love letters to each other and a tribute to our relationship and our lives together, it would all sound like that album.
We don’t normally spend our anniversary on a weekend getaway with a date to the theater. Last year we ate tacos at a chain restaurant and rented a movie from Redbox. But no matter how fancy (or not) your special date can be made a little more special with a playlist.
To help you do that, I’m going to walk you through my process for creating a playlist of songs that mean something to my husband and me – and just might create a romantic mood!
We’re going to talk about a set of decisions you’ll need to make before beginning, as well as how to pick the best songs for your list. And just in case it sparks your memory or creativity, I’ll share some of the songs that might make my own anniversary playlist!
First up, decide what tools you’re going to use. Will your list be played on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, or another site or app?
Next, choose a genre. While you and your husband might enjoy all types of music, a collection of songs works better when those songs have something in common (other than your emotional attachment to them). So you don’t have to commit to a dozen New Wave tunes from the 80s, but your songs should at least have the same feel to them.
Finally, decide how long you want the playlist to be. Is it just for the car ride to and from the restaurant? Does it need to last for an entire road trip? Will you only play it during dinner at home after the kids are in bed? Figure out an estimated time frame and select your songs accordingly.
And speaking of selecting songs, here are the types of songs I’d recommend for your anniversary or date night playlist:
What song was playing the night you met or on your first date?
For us this would be What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes or Kissed by a Rose by Seal. Hello, mid-90s!
What song makes you think of your dating days?
Dust on the Bottle by David Lee Murphy, It’s Your Love by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, or anything by John Michael Montgomery, Tom Petty, the Eagles, or Boyz II Men – clearly this will be a challenge for that same genre step!
What song played when you got engaged, or makes you think of your engagement?
I was away at college during our engagement, so Save Tonight by Eagle-Eye Cherry and A Bad Goodbye by Clint Black and Wynonna make me think of that season of long-distance love.
What song(s) played at your wedding or wedding reception?
From This Moment by Shania Twain, You Are the Love of My Life by Sammy Kershaw, One Friend by Dan Seals, and I Know How the River Feels by Diamond Rio were our wedding songs. Yes, we went full country!
What song reminds you of your honeymoon?
You can interpret and answer that song any way you want to… (You could also choose a song that you both liked or that was popular during your days as newlyweds.)
What song reflects a difficult time during your relationship?
Without a doubt, this would be Say Something by Great Big World for us. But since I can’t listen to that song now without tearing up, I might lean into the country sound and go with the just-as-fitting Hard to Love by Lee Brice.
What song reflects a season of reconnection or resurrection in your relationship?
I Hold On by Dierks Bentley is one of my favorites, because the lyrics talk about the good side of being stubborn – which is something it took my husband and me a long time to figure out!
What song(s) remind you of your children?
Since I can’t seem to escape the “gone country” theme my list is taking, I guess I’ll put I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbit and Elvira by The Oak Ridge Boys here. For some reason our girls got a huge kick out of those two songs for most of last year, and even the memory makes us chuckle now.
What current song makes you think of each other?
I don’t know if my husband likes it; I should probably ask him. But Greatest Love Story by Lanco – yes, I’m finishing strong with another country song – makes me think of him and our story every time I hear it.
This started out as a hypothetical idea for me, but thinking through all the songs that mean the most to my husband and me has me feeling nostalgic and lovey-dovey and just maybe like bursting into song. Clearly I’ll be making this playlist today! How about you?