As a therapist to couples, I like to study the effects of music on romantic partnerships in my practice. I often ask couples if they have a song. It could be a song linked to falling in love or a song they danced to at their wedding. Sometimes a song is not mutually shared, but one partner links it to falling in love with the other. When I get that information from a couple, I surprise them by playing the song later during therapy. I record their reactions with digital video. Then, I use a process of digital frame analysis to study their reactions, and I share the results with them. This can help them get back in touch with the closeness they associate with that song.
Emotionally encoded music memories tend to remain stable over time. In other words, a shared song can be more powerful than a negative experience. I have seen proof of this in couples sessions. For example, if partners are at each other's throats and I play their song, they will show immediate signs of a positive shift. Their emotional music memory functions as the trigger. This can happen even when they don't expect it.
I can think of only one instance when a couple responded negatively to hearing their song in a session. One partner reacted with sadness and anger at the loss of what the song represented. I asked the couple for a second song that was linked to their mutual feelings of being in love. However, that song was also met with grief. Perhaps not surprisingly, that couple filed for divorce shortly after our session.
If you and your partner have a song that has lost its magic, my advice is run—don't walk—to therapy.
However, in general, I think you will find that playing your song will reinspire and rekindle the original feelings and memories that are linked to it. Here are three ways you and your partner can use music to reignite your loving connection: