Michelle Obama has been praised for her candidness and transparency after she revealed that there were 10 years she “couldn’t stand” her husband Barack.
The former first lady, 58, opened up about the realities of marriage, and the ups and downs most couples face, during a conversation with Revolt TV, where she revealed that the decade-long struggle in her relationship began shortly after the birth of the couple’s two daughters, Sasha, 21, and Malia, 24.
“People think I’m being catty by saying this - it’s like, there were 10 years where I couldn’t stand my husband,” she admitted. “And guess when it happened? When those kids were little.”
According to the Becoming author, who has been married to the former president for 30 years, the issue stemmed from a realisation that the couple’s marriage wasn’t “even” at the time, as she noted that she was taking care of the children and her husband was embarking on his political career.
“That’s when all the measuring starts …” Michelle continued, while acknowledging that couples often “turn that ire on each other”.
“And for 10 years while we’re trying to build our careers and, you know, worrying about school and who’s doing what and what, I was like: ‘Ugh, this isn’t even,’” Michelle recalled. “And guess what? Marriage isn’t 50/50, ever, ever.
“There are times [when] I’m 70, he’s 30. There are times he’s 60, 40, but guess what? 10 years - we’ve been married 30. I would take 10 bad years over 30, it’s just how you look at it. And people give up … ‘Five years, I can’t take it.’”
However, according to Michelle, for a marriage to work, even in times of struggle or disagreement, you’ve “got to know your person” and “like” who they are.
“I mean, you could be mad at him, but do you still look at him and go: ‘I’m not happy with you, but I respect you. I don’t agree with you, but you’re still a kind, smart person,’” she said, before noting “feelings are going to change over time,” and that that is when couples need to put work into their relationships.
On social media, the former first lady’s comments resonated, with many revealing they found Michelle’s admission relatable.
“That’s called a normal marriage,” one person wrote, while another said: “I love â¦@MichelleObamaâ© even more after reading this. She’s right, those years when kids are little are so stressful then plus work and plus cleaning! Love her honesty!!”
“Absolutely! I always say that it’s not romance and roses everyday. Sometimes you have to dig deep, learn how to fight fair, learn the art of compromise and manage the highs and lows,” someone else wrote.
According to another person, they found it refreshing to hear Michelle speak openly about the struggles she experienced in her marriage. “Nice to hear everyone sometimes has marriage issues. Thanks for sharing,” they wrote.
This is not the first time that Michelle has spoken candidly about the work that goes into a successful marriage, as she revealed in October that she doesn’t want her and Barack’s daughters to “rush into marriage” before “they even know who they are”.
“Too many young people are rushing to check the box of marriage before they even know who they are, and then they’re surprised when they pick the wrong person, or they don’t know how to struggle through hard times,” she said during an appearance on the Tamron Hall Show. “I want my girls to spend some time with themselves to develop some skills to understand that they can make it with or without, that they can build their happiness with all the bells and whistles and they can be happy if they choose to only focus on their career, to never have kids. I want to make their worlds bigger for them.”
Michelle and Barack met in 1989 and married in 1992. They recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in October.
In celebration of the milestone, Barack shared a tribute to his wife on Instagram, where he said he “couldn’t have asked for a better life partner”.