Country music lyrics often revolve around love and relationships gone wrong. Singers and songwriters tell stories of love found and lost. So it’s perhaps not surprising that the topic of divorce is particularly common in this genre.
Some of the lyrics are lighthearted and fun, while others are heartfelt tearjerkers. Is your favorite song about divorce among our picks presented below (in no particular order)?
Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands
The newlyweds in this Lee Greenwood song start out strong. But it isn’t long before the husband drifts away—emotionally, at least—and the lonely wife looks for love outside the marriage. “I had a ring on my finger and time on my hands. The woman in me needed the warmth of a man.”
We never know if the husband was drawn away by another woman, his career, or some other force. Sometimes there is no explanation for why a marriage doesn’t work, which is why every state grants no-fault divorces when it’s just not meant to be.
She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)
Jerry Reed wrote this song about splitting those marital assets. He sings, “She got the goldmine! She got the goldmine! I got the shaft. I got the shaft. They split it right down the middle, and then they gave her the better half.” We learn the ex walked away with the color television set, the house, the kids, and both cars.
An equitable division of assets is not necessarily a 50/50 split. And there’s more than just the marital home to consider: intellectual property, vacation pay, and even the family pet are all up for grabs. Make sure your attorney has a complete inventory of your assets before you even begin to discuss who gets what.
Every Other Weekend
This duet by Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney reveals the pain and regret parents feel when their kids are caught in the middle of a divorce. “Every other weekend,” Mom takes the kids to see Dad so he can “pick up the love we made in both my arms.” And “for 15 minutes, we’re a family again.”
Whether you miss your ex tremendously or can’t stand the sight of your former spouse, it’s important to be civil when you’re meeting to drop off or pick up the children. The kids didn’t ask to be put in this situation, so the least you can do is make it easier for them to transition from one parent’s household to the other’s.
When You Love Someone
One of the more recent country songs about divorce comes from singer-songwriter James TW. Instead of writing about the heartbreak of losing a spouse, he tells the story of divorce from a child’s perspective.
“Sometimes moms and dads fall out of love. Sometimes two homes are better than one. Some things you can’t tell your sister ‘cause she’s still too young.” TW speaks to children of divorce to remind them that in the end, they’re all still family.
Do You Want Fries with That?
Tim McGraw croons about the man who has replaced him in his ex-wife’s life. “Well you took my wife, and you took my kids, and you took that life that I used to live.” Sure, seeing your former spouse with a new significant other can be incredibly painful.
Unless you perceive your ex’s new love to be a threat to your children, you should make every effort to take the high road. Your divorce brought an end to your union, and both you and your ex-spouse have every right to move on to another relationship.
Barbara Mandrell is not referring to a monthly check in this country classic. Her “child support” is the little boy she’s now parenting alone. “His hands are tiny, and his legs are short. But I lean upon him for my child support.”
Following a divorce, a single parent faces any number of legal issues. After the court has made its ruling in “the best interests of the child,” the custodial parent has to make decisions about changing her last name or letting grandparents from the ex’s side have visitation. Having an experienced divorce attorney on hand is always a good idea.
Tammy Wynette’s famous ballad reveals the heart-wrenching things parents do to try and shield their children from the pain of divorce. Mom and Dad can discuss the sad details of their split in front of little Joe, but only if they spell.
Joe is on to them. He knows that grown-ups use spelling when they don’t want to spill the beans about wonderful things to come, like a T-O-Y or a S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E. What Joe doesn’t understand is that C-U-S-T-O-D-Y doesn’t spell fun. The “D-I-V-O-R-C-E becomes final today… and it will be pure H-E- double L.”
Involving children in adult discussions about your separation is a bad idea. Nor should one parent use kids as messengers or to spy on the other. Take the grown-up drama to another room.
All These Years
Sawyer Brown put a different spin on infidelity. In this ballad, a husband comes home from work to find his wife with another man. He doesn’t run to divorce court. Instead, he reflects on all of the ways in which he was a bad husband – “don’t you rub it in too hard that I’ve been wrong” – and pledges to stay till the end.
Will they make it to forever or join the ranks of other long-time married couples who are part of the new gray divorce trend?