Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama has some powerful advice for anyone going through a rough patch in their relationship

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Speaking on the latest episode of her podcast, Michelle Obama revealed her relationship with Barack hasn’t always been plain sailing – and shared some words of wisdom for dealing with those turbulent times.

Ever since Michelle and Barack Obama took up residence in the White House, people all over the world have held the couple up as the definition of ‘relationship goals’. From Michelle’s heartwarming tale about what first drew her to her future husband to those adorable Instagram posts, there’s plenty to admire about the Obama’s relationship.

But just because there’s been plenty of good times throughout their almost 30 years of marriage, doesn’t mean the pair haven’t faced challenges, too, as Michelle explained on the latest episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast.

Sitting down to chat all things marriage and relationships with comedian and late night host Conan O’Brien, the former First Lady spoke openly about the challenges she and Barack had faced throughout their relationship, and shared some powerful advice for young couples going through difficult times. 

“People aren’t perfect. Marriage is hard. It’s a struggle for everyone,” she said. “You’ve got to know that there are going to be long periods of time when you can’t stand each other. I said it on the book tour as a joke – there were times that I wanted to push Barack out of the window.

“And I say that because it’s like, you’ve got to know the feelings will be intense. But that doesn’t mean you quit. These periods can last a long time – they can last years. But we don’t talk about that, so young couples, they face these challenges and they’re ready to give up because they think they’re broken.”

She continued: “And I just want to say, look, if that breaks a marriage, then Barack and I have been broken off and on, throughout our marriage, but we have a very strong marriage. 

“And if I had given up on it, if I had walked away from it, in those tough times, then I would’ve missed all the beauty that was there as well.” 

This isn’t the first time Obama has spoken about the challenges she and Barack have faced throughout their relationship. During an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus Tour at the beginning of the year, the former First Lady spoke openly about attending couples therapy when the pair were going through a particularly rough patch.

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama on relationships: “People aren’t perfect. Marriage is hard. It’s a struggle for everyone.”

“Sometimes you need an objective person to just hear you out. It taught me that I was responsible for my own happiness. I didn’t marry Barack for him to make me happy. No one can make me happy.

“If I’m going to show up equal in this partnership, I have to be able to make myself happy and so I had to stop focusing on what he wasn’t doing and start thinking about how to carve out that life that I wanted for myself, with or without Barack. The more I succeeded in defining myself for myself, the better I was in a partnership.”

If Obama has made one thing clear throughout her time in the spotlight, it’s that relationships are never easy – and that’s OK. 

In the same way that life is messy and unpredictable, so too are our relationships – and being honest about that is a great place to start.

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.

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