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Michelle Obama "Couldn't Stand" Barack Obama for 10 Years of Marriage—and It Makes Sense
Michelle and Barack Obama
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Michelle Obama "Couldn't Stand" Barack Obama for 10 Years of Marriage—and It Makes Sense

Former First Lady Michelle Obama admits she "couldnt stand" her husband Barack Obama for nearly a decade of marriage. Raising two young daughters and putting a career over marriage became a strain on the couples relationship.

Michelle and Barack Obama are as known for their politics as they are for their fairytale marriage of over twenty years. But it hasn't been all rainbows for the couple, Michelle spoke out about the trying years and strain that any relationship can have.

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Marriage is never easy, adding a young family and a demanding job to the mix can be a recipe for disaster. But these two managed to overcome all odds.


The Start of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's Relationship

Michelle and Barack Obama on stage discussing her new book on marriage and more.
@barackobama/Instagram

Fate brought Michelle Robinson, then 25, and Barack Obama, then 28, together in 1989. Assigned as Barack's mentor at law firm Sidley Austin LLP based in Chicago, Barack admits he was smitten from the start.

"Barack, about a month in, asked me out, and I thought 'No way. This is completely tacky,'" she told ABC News in an interview.

Barack used persistence and patience until the two eventually went out on their first date. While they are known as a “political power couple,” the two began their relationship with nothing but love and admiration for one another. She described Barack as the perfect combination of hip, cutting edge and sensitive.

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"Despite my resistance to the hype that had preceded him, I found myself admiring Barack for both his self-assuredness and his earnest demeanor,” Michelle wrote in her novel “Becoming.”

Their infamous first date began with lunch at the Art Institute of Chicago, followed by a wak to Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing.

The pair eventually modestly engaged in 1991 at Gordon’s restaurant in Chicago.

"And then the waiter came over with the dessert and a tray. And there was the ring," Michelle said. "And I was completely shocked.”

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama Welcome Daughters Malia and Sasha

Michelle and Barack Obama with daughters Malia and Sasha.
@michelleobama/Instagram

After saying “I do” at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago on October 3, 1992, the newlyweds welcomed their first child, Sasha Obama. Six years later they welcomed their second when Malia Ann Obama was born on July 4, 1998.

During the 2008 presidential election, Barack took a victory over Republican nominee John McCain. Holding onto power from January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2017, the former president became more than a politician. Barack's role as husband and father gained national attention; praised for juggling political responsibilities alongside being a devoted partner.

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It came with a surprise when the former First Lady revealed she couldn't stand Barack for 10 years after the birth of their daughters. On the Revolt x Michelle Obama special, Michelle told host Angie Martinez and panelists Tina Lawson, Kelly Rowland, H.E.R., and Winnie Harlow that she faced a rough patch in her marriage.

Michelle Obama Speaks On The Hardships Of Marriage

When Michelle and Barack's daughters were young, the couple went through a tumultuous time in their marriage. There was tension, strain and frustration on both sides. So much that the former first lady confessed she “couldn’t stand” her husband for nearly a decade.

“We don’t talk about how much work is required and how hard it is even when you are madly in love with the person, even when everything works out right.” She went on, “People think I’m being catty by saying this: It’s like, there were 10 years where I couldn’t stand my husband. And guess when it happened? When those kids were little.”

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While Barack built his political career, Michelle was busy looking after daughters, Sasha and Malia. She admits the marriage is not always 50/50, but marriage is rarely about being equally balanced. Instead, the former First Lady wants others to understand that marriage takes work. Regardless of how madly in love you may be, a partnership will put your relationship to the test.

“There are times I’m 70, he’s 30. There are times he’s 60, 40, but guess what?” she continued. “Ten years – we’ve been married 30. I would take 10 bad years over 30 – it’s just how you look at it. And people give up … [saying], ‘Five years – I can’t take it,” she said.

Marriage Is Never A Perfectly Written Script

Michelle and Barack Obama marriage: hugging on a balcony.
barackobama/Instagram | @michelleobama/Instagram

Love has its ups and downs and for some a decade of marital challenges may seem like the right time to call it quits. But the former First Lady is glad she stands beside the former president and their family.

Michelle Obama explains that 10 bad years seem minuscule when compared to a 30-year marriage. The two could have parted ways and ended their partnership but they worked through their challenges and stay committed.

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As she describes in her novel The Light We Carry, Michelle says it is important for young individuals to understand there will be times when one person is putting in more work than the other. Sometimes it balances it out, but the majority of the time these are just “natural compromises."

“I think it’s important for us to be honest in those conversations not to glamorize what a partnership feels like because then young people quit too soon,” Michelle said. “They quit before they’ve really played out the full scenario.”

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