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Michelle Obama recalls what first drew her to Barack, and we’d expect nothing less

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Kayleigh Dray
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Michelle and Barack Obama in love

“I think a lot of people don’t have a clear idea of what they should look for in a mate – and for a long time, I didn’t either,” says Michelle Obama.

Barack and Michelle Obama may no longer be reigning supreme in the White House, but the former President and First Lady will forever hold a place in our hearts – not least of all because of the love and respect they show to one another.

Indeed, appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2011, Michelle explained that equality is the true secret to her and the former prez’s long and happy marriage (they tied the knot way back in 1992).

“It has to be a true partnership, and you have to really, really like and respect the person you’re married to because it is a hard road,” she said at the time. “I mean, that’s what I tell young couples.”

The Becoming author continued: “Don’t expect it to be easy, melding two lives and trying to raise others, and doing it forever. I mean that’s a recipe made for disaster, so there are highs and lows. But if in the end you can look him in the eye and say, ‘I like you,’ [then you’ve done a good job].”

Of course, this is all well and good – but it only works if you’ve already found the right person. Thankfully, though, Michelle has now dished some advice on what we should all be looking for in a long-term partner. 

Speaking in the most recent issue of Essence, Michelle has explained what it was about Barack that caused her to fall in love with him in the first place.

“I think a lot of people don’t have a clear idea of what they should look for in a mate – and for a long time, I didn’t either,” she said.

“What drew me to Barack was that when I met him, he was already a fully formed individual. From our very first conversations, he showed me that he wasn’t afraid to express his fears and doubts, or that he might not have all the answers.”

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Michelle continued: “He could handle someone with her own passions and goals, someone who had ideas of her own. He relished it, in fact. 

“I liked that.”

Essentially, it all seems to come down to finding someone who’s secure enough with themselves to respect that you are your own person – and to understand the distinction between “me” and “we”.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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