"God Gave Me You" was the second single from Blake Shelton's sixth studio album, Red River Blue
. The song was originally written by Christian rocker Dave Barnes and recorded by him on his 2010 album, What We Want, What We Get
. Barnes told Today's Christian Music
. "'God Gave Me You' is a song that I wrote for my wife, just kinda of a thank you not only to her but to God for putting us together."
Shelton first came across the song during a difficult patch in his relationship with Miranda Lambert, before they married. The country star was driving in his truck back to Oklahoma when Barnes' tune came on the radio. He recalled to The Boot: "For whatever reason I was flipping through stations and landed on a contemporary Christian station, and that song came on and I almost had to pull the truck over. It was one of those moments for me where I felt like I was hearing that song at that moment for a reason."
Shelton got on iTunes and downloaded the song as he was driving home. He continued: "I probably listened to it 20 times before I got home that day, and I called [my producer] Scott Hendricks and said, 'Man, I found a song I want to cut.' There was never a question, I never looked back after that. I knew it was going to be a pivotal song for the album."
Barnes told The Boot how he came to write the song: "I had the guitar line and hook and loved it, but I couldn't really come up with anything to do with it... I forgot about it for a while. Then I got together with a buddy of mine, Matt Wertz, to write some songs and I found that idea again and showed it to him, and he loved it.I got home that afternoon and immediately wrote the song. The title came to me on a trip to London, randomly enough, so I just added the music and it was off to the races."
Barnes told The Boot there is no animosity between him and Wertz despite the song's success: "I had to call and tell Matt I had written a song around the idea, which he was totally fine with even though he had asked me to hold the idea for him. He still messes with me about that. When I heard that it was making [Blake's] record, I was so excited! Especially in how it got there: it wasn't pitched, it was found. That's the best because the artist has such a different attachment that way. The fact that he heard it on the radio and wanted to record it because it meant something to him and Miranda blows my mind. It's still hard to believe it's on the radio. Writing so much on Music Row and knowing the process of how songs get cut and picked for radio, it's amazing to me that 'God Gave Me You' made it through the whole process. I'm so thankful!"
The song's visual includes footage from the video that Miranda made for Blake during their May 2011 wedding. "There was this wedding video that leaked out on the internet," Shelton explained. "One of us did it, I'm sure, by just not knowing how to use a computer! [laughs] So I was watching the wedding video one day and it opened with Miranda talking to me. That was the first time I saw it. I just thought what she's saying to me is so cool. And the reason I cut that song was because of her and the ups and downs of our relationships that we always had, but always end up back together. [She] said everything that was the reason I recorded that song.Trey Fanjoy, the director, thought it would be a great idea to take that and let it be my chapter in the video," he continued, "and then show all these other things, like the guy in the car wreck and the nurse who comes to save him, and the kid in school who didn't fit in and had the girl who wanted to be his friend. There are all different scenarios for 'God Gave Me You.' So that is, hands down, the most personal video."
The song was Blake Shelton's fifth consecutive Country #1 and his 10th in total.
Barnes explained the inspiration for the song to American Songwriter magazine: "I really loved the song title idea – it was a bit different at the beginning – the God Gave Me You idea, but as I kept tweaking it kept getting simpler, so that's what it ended up as. It really resonated with me. It's about and for my wife, Annie. It's really a 'Thank you' kind of a song. Because she's awesome and has been, it wasn't too hard to think of what to say!"
Barnes admitted to American Songwriter that there were some lyrics that he struggled to make a decision on. "It's funny," he said, "there are some weird lines in this song. I mean, I love them. But I struggled through leaving a couple of them – namely 'You'll always be love's great martyr, and I'll be the flattered fool.' I mean, who says that? But I knew it was really unique and cool. And I never thought anyone other than me would be singing it, so I wasn't thinking that way. I knew I would sing that and loved what it meant. and honestly how quirky it was! I love the 'divine conspiracy' line too. And the bridge idea – 'on my own I'm only, half of what I should be.' that's a theme I seem to revisit a lot in my lyric writing. Maybe i should work on that. Ha!"