Michelle Obama Makes A Solid Case For Prioritising Marriage Therapy

The two sat together on stage talking to a stadium of 15,000 people but managed to make the experience feel like a one-on-one. Michelle opened up about everything from her time in the White House to writing her memoir Becoming. But by far the most vulnerable she got was when she discussed her marriage to former President Barack Obama.

Oprah asked Michelle what it’s like being empty nesters for the first time, and she answered without hesitation. “It is so good, y’all,” she laughed. “No, it is really good,” she said playfully (wink, wink), then telling the audience to get their minds out of the gutter.

The first lady gushed about her marriage when Oprah brought up the sweet instagram post that Barack Obama shared for Michelle’s birthday in January.

“In every scene, you are my star, @MichelleObama! Happy birthday, baby!” he wrote.

“And you call him your soul-affirming partner?” Oprah asked. “Is it more so now in 28 years than earlier. Does it keep getting better? Or it’s more seasoned?”

Michelle said, “It’s all of that. And this is what I keep trying to tell young people. Marriage is hard and raising a family together is a hard thing. It takes a toll.” Michelle opened about some of the tumultuous points in their marriage telling her that friendship was something they always relied on.

“We’re coming back to that point where we see each other again because some of the hardest times in our lives we just escaped, we survived it. We went through a tough time, we did some hard things together. But now we’re out on the other end and I can look at him and I still recognize my husband. He’s still the man I fell in love with,” Michelle said. 

But she didn’t always have this view of their relationship. The two went to therapy, which Michelle also discusses openly in her memoir.

Sometimes you need an objective person to just hear you out,” she says. Going to therapy gave the former first lady a completely different outlook on her marriage. “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,” she said.

“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 the life that I wanted for myself, with or without Barack,” she told Oprah. “The more I succeeded in defining myself for myself, the better I was in my partnership.”

Cue the standing ovation!

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US. 

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