's songs are filled with imperfect people who lead ordinary lives. "In Spite of Ourselves" is the story of two such imperfect people who are perfect together. He drinks too much beer and tells corny jokes; she swears too much and puts catsup on her eggs. They not only look past each other's flaws, they find them endearing. It's a love that will last in spite of themselves.
Prine wrote this for a movie called Daddy And Them, which was written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton. In the film, Prine and Thornton play brothers; Andy Griffith plays their father. Thornton asked Prine to write a song for the end of the movie, and Prine complied, writing it loosely based on the characters in the film. Daddy And Them wasn't released until 2001, two years after the song appeared on Prine's album In Spite Of Ourselves.
The In Spite Of Ourselves album is a collection of duets Prine did with female singers. This title track he sings with Iris DeMent.
When Prine asked some of his favorite singers to appear on the album, he expected a lot of them to turn him down, but most said yes. Lucinda Williams, Trisha Yearwood, Connie Smith, Melba Montgomery, Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless and Dolores Keane also appear. "In Spite of Ourselves" was the only song Prine wrote for the album; the rest were covers.
This was the first song Prine recorded after developing cancer in 1998, which required surgery on his neck. He had to go through rehab after the ordeal, and with all the radiation in his neck, it wasn't clear if he would ever sing again. When he recorded "In Spite of Ourselves," it was a happy day - Prine could still sing, just with a bit more of rasp.
Prine's record company released an official video for this song in 2017 after asking fans to send in photos of their "big door prizes" (meaning their significant others), which were used as footage.