Michelle Obama on marriage: ‘There are times when you can’t stand each other’
Former first lady says in latest episode of her podcast that marriage should be approached like picking a basketball team
Michelle Obama said there have been times when she wanted to “push Barack out of the window” and that marriage should be approached like picking a basketball team in a frank discussion about relationships.
In the latest episode of her Spotify podcast, the former first lady said young couples, especially when they have small children, struggle to deal with tiredness, stress and sharing roles and they give up on their relationship.
“You’ve got to know that there are going to be times, long periods of time, when you can’t stand each other... I said it, you know, on the book tour, as a joke,” she said, in conversation with television host Conan O’Brien.
“There were times that I wanted to push Barack out of the window, right. And I say that, because it’s like you’ve got to know the feelings will be intense. But that doesn’t mean you quit. And these periods can last a long time. They can last years.”
Because people do not talk about the difficult periods, she said often young couples want to give up when they face difficulties because “they think they’re broken”.
She added: “I just want to say, look, if that breaks a marriage, then Barack and I have been broken off and on, throughout our marriage, but we have a very strong marriage. And if I had given up on it, if I had walked away from it, in those tough times, then I would’ve missed all the beauty, that was there as well.”
The couple, who met in 1989, will celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary next month.
If people went into marriage as if they were picking their basketball team she believes it would lead to “better marriages”.
“Because if you’re looking at a team, the people you want to win with, then number one you want everybody on your team to be strong... If we looked at marriage as a real team, you want your teammate to be a winner, then you want LeBron [James, the LA Lakers star].”
After having fertility issues, she said she was ready when they had Sasha and Malia, now 19 and 22, but that having children dramatically changed their dynamic. “I would not trade them in, but whew, they can mess up a marriage.”
She said becoming a mother was the first time that she felt “the sting of gender roles” in their marriage.
“I had to be there, and I had to go, and it was my body, and my husband was still sort of boppin’ around, living his life... the resentment starts to build up, or it started to, it’s like well, what happened to the unit, what happened to my best friend?
What happened to my buddy, who’s, at the gym? It’s like, how the hell are you at the gym? You know, dude... I’ve got cabbage on my breast.”