October 3 is Barack and Michelle Obama’s wedding anniversary — and today, the first couple has been married for 24 years.
So how do they do it? By loving and respecting one another.
The Obamas have come a long way since they first met at a Chicago law firm, where Michelle was already a practicing lawyer and Barack was a summer associate.
And the couple has maintained a strong relationship despite the life-changing transition from Chicago to the White House. In fact, the Obamas are often photographed or caught on video displaying affection — and every time they’re interviewed about their relationship, they never fail to produce adorable quotes about each other.
But in one interview — on a 2011 episode of the Oprah Winfrey show — Michelle got the chance to explain exactly why she and Barack have had long-term success in their marriage.
Oprah began with a simple question: “What do you know for sure about marriage, being married now 18 years?”
Here’s how Michelle answered:
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. I mean, that’s what I tell young couples. 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.”
The Obamas aren’t just in love — they genuinely like each and respect each other. (For what it’s worth: Respecting your partner is also a secret of couples who’ve been together since high school.)
“I stopped believing in love at first sight,” Michelle continued. “I think you go through that wonderful love stage, but when it gets hard, you need a little bit more.”
That “more” is liking your partner in addition to loving your partner. And when you see photos of the Obamas interacting, it’s clear that they’re doing both.
In that same Oprah episode, Barack also elaborated on his relationship with the First Lady.
“Obviously I couldn’t have done anything that I’ve done without Michelle… not only has she been a great first lady, she is just my rock,” he said. “I count on her in so many ways every single day.”
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