"Husbands and Wives" is a mid-tempo waltz in the key of F major. In it, the narrator makes observations on a couple who is breaking up ("Two broken hearts, lonely, looking like houses / Where nobody lives"). He then suggests that the relationship is strained because those involved have too much pride in themselves ("It's my belief pride is the chief cause in the decline / In the number of husbands and wives").
Roger Miller recorded the song in 1966 for his album Words and Music, releasing it as the album's first single. It was a crossover hit for him, reaching Top 5 on the country and Adult Contemporary charts, as well as Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its b-side, "I've Been a Long Time Leavin' (But I'll Be a Long Time Gone)," peaked at #13 on the country charts.
David Frizzell and Shelly West covered the song on their 1981 duets album Carryin' On the Family Names, and released it as the album's third and final single. Their version reached the Top 20 on the country singles chart.
Country music duo Brooks & Dunn covered the song on their 1998 album If You See Her. Featuring lead vocals from Ronnie Dunn, their version was the album's third single, reaching the top of the country singles charts in December 1998. It was also a Top 40 pop hit, peaking at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100.