Conversations around Michelle Obama’s new memoir, “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times,” have been buzzing for weeks. In a recent interview to promote her new book, the former first lady candidly opened up about a period of uncertainty in her marriage to the first Black president of the United States, Barack Obama.
Angie Martinez moderated a dialogue this month with Michelle, Tina Knowles-Lawson, singers H.E.R., Kelly Rowland, and supermodel Winnie Harlow, REVOLT x Michelle Obama: The Cross-Generational Conversation.
At one point, Obama admitted, “There were ten years where I couldn’t stand my husband. And guess when it happened? When those kids were little.”
Michelle and Barack wed in October 1992 and share two daughters, Malia Obama, 24, and Sasha Obama, 21. They went from living separate lives in the political world to building and raising a family, which brought on many changes in their household.
“But the minute we had kids, it was like, ‘where are you going and how far,” said Michelle. “And you start measuring…it’s like, ‘how many diapers did you change…oh you’re golfing…oh you got time to golf? How you at the gym all the time?”
“That’s when all the measuring starts because you got this project and guess what, little kids…they’re terrorists,” she confessed. “They have demands. They don’t talk. They’re poor communicators. They cry all the time. They’re irrational.”
Lawson chimed in adding, “They’re selfish.”
Michelle continued stating, “And you love them more than anything.” She said it’s unfair to “blame” children for adult feelings than can sometimes be projected onto your partner.
“So you turn that iron on each other and for ten years while we’re trying to build our careers and you know worrying about school and who’s doing what I was like, ‘Ugh, this isn’t even,” said the 58-year-old.
Lawson, who is currently in her second marriage to actor Richard Lawson, agreed with Obama’s argument that marriage is never “ever” 50/50.
“There are times I’m 70, he’s 30. There’s times he’s 60…40. But guess what?” said the 58-year-old about her marriage to Barack. “Ten years, we’ve been married 30. I would take 10 bad years over 30. It’s just how you look at it.”
Michelle mentioned that some married couples “give up” after five years. She said the secret to longevity in marriage is truly knowing your spouse and the key is being able to say, “I don’t agree with you but you’re still a kind, smart person.”
“I mean you can be mad at him but do you still look at him and go, ‘I’m not happy with you but I respect you.’”
The former lawyer believes some married couples give up early after the happy, loving years, not realizing that “feelings are gonna change over time.”
“So the moment that goes people want to give up on it. But now you’re in the work,” Michelle explained. “You’re in the work of it and that’s why I want to talk about the work of it. The work of any relationship, the work of friendship. “