Michelle Obama offers marital advice about enduring bad times and 'broken things' in a relationship without quitting

 January 9, 2024

Former First Lady Michelle Obama has become something of a national marriage counselor over the past couple of years by repeatedly opening up in interviews about her 30+ year relationship with former President Barack Obama, offering up advice and revelations that have occurred to her over the years.

In one recent interview, however, Obama sought to dissuade others from idealizing her marriage since, like most other long-term relationships, it had endured its "ups and downs" and "broken things" that could have resulted in a split, according to Hollywood Life.

The key for her, which applies to all others in lengthy relationships, is learning to look past the inevitable disagreements and fights to instead focus on and treasure the good times together with a beloved spouse.

Even the "best of marriages" suffer from "broken things" and conflict

On Monday, "On Purpose" podcast host Jay Shetty posted an hour-long discussion with the former first lady that included a conversation about making marriage or other long-term relationships work despite occasional troubles.

"I don’t want people looking at me and Barack like hashtag 'couple goals' and not know that no, no, there are some broken things that happen even in the best of marriages," Obama said at one point.

"After 31 years, yeah, we still do [cross the line], but you know it quicker. And then you apologize," she continued. "You learn how to say my bad, right? That takes a second, right?"

Learn to deal with inevitable disagreements

"I talk about marriage because I just think that, No. 1, most people don’t talk about it. Because what happens is that by not knowing, you hit, in your relationship, some natural, like, understandable rough patches, and you want to quit," the former first lady said. "And it’s like, 'Oh, no, no, no, no, no. That’s not quit-worthy. That’s just the nature of things.' That’s why I joked, it’s like, 'Oh, you’re mad at your partner, you’re mad for a year and you think the marriage is over.'"

"You don’t quit on it, right? You learn from it. And that’s what sustaining a relationship is. It’s the choice to figure it out, not to quit when it gets hard," Obama explained. "So yeah, I said something that I didn’t mean to say, right? Year five, we might’ve had hurt feelings and it would have taken days to rectify it. Year 30, it’s like, 'Ah, there she goes again,' or 'there he goes again.' I know how to talk to him about it and when, because we’ve practiced it."

Obama previously issued similar marital advice

This isn't the first time that former first lady Obama has seemingly been pressed into the role of national marriage counselor by responding to probing interview questions with surprisingly revelatory answers and advice derived from her own experiences in a three-decade relationship with the former president.

In April 2023, Obama sat for an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King and admitted that there had been around 10 years early in their marriage in which she "couldn't stand" being with Barack but stuck with the relationship because of their two young daughters, Sasha and Malia.

She explained that many couples don't fully realize ahead of time that "marriage is hard" and "ain't always fun," and said, "And a lot of young people quit on marriage over things that are just a part of the commitment. We've been married for 30 years. If I fell out with him for 10, and we had a great 20 years, I'd take those odds anytime."

Obama struck a similar tone in a November 2022 interview with NPR to promote her new memoir at the time, and shared how "We have to understand that marriage is never 50/50," but rather is a constant give and take of compromises and sacrifices that, hopefully, all even out over time between spouses.

She further cautioned that new couples should give serious thought to what they hope to achieve with a long-term relationship before making it official, but once that knot is tied be willing to not "quit too soon" and faithfully endure the bad times and "long stretches of discomfort" that, ideally, are outweighed and overcome by the good times that make a lasting relationship all the more beautiful.

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