Michelle Obama's Sage Marriage Advice Is Something All Young Couples Need to Hear

The former first lady got incredibly real about marriage counseling

Updated 12/19/18

Kim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

If there's one power couple whose relationship has stood the test of time AND two presidential terms, it's Barack and Michelle Obama's. With 26 years of marriage under their belts, the pair has mastered the art of adorable social media anniversary shout-outs (that get better and better every year), as well as absolutely winning the date night game. But, the bestselling author recently opened up about her marriage, proving (as to be expected) that it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows throughout the past two decades.

While appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Tuesday evening, the former first lady spoke about her new memoir, Becoming, touching on a surprising revelation regarding her marriage.

"Marriage is hard, even for us," she transparently admitted. "We have a great relationship, but the thing about marriage counseling is like I was one of those wives who thought, 'I'm taking you to marriage counseling so you can be fixed, Barack Obama,' because I was like, 'I'm perfect.' I was like, 'Dr. X, please fix him,' and then our counselor looked over at me and I was like, 'What are you looking at? I'm perfect.'"

After the audience had a laugh, she went on to sing the experience's praises. "Marriage counseling was a turning point for me understanding that it wasn't up to my husband to make me happy—that I had to learn how to fill myself up and have to put myself higher on my priority list," Michelle added.

The mother of two also directed her marriage advice toward younger generations. "I share that because there are a lot of young people who look at me and Barack, and you and your wife, and people they see and they think, 'Oh, I want that #RelationshipGoals,'" she said. "But I want people to know that marriage is work. Even the best marriages require work. I call them a vexation—it's a choice that you make again and again and again, because I don't want young people to quit the minute they have a hardship. Because I always say, if you're married for 50 years, and 10 of them are horrible, you're doing really good!"

This isn't the first time Michelle has publicly broached this conversation topic, though. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey in the December issue of Elle, the 54-year-old shared how couple's therapy helped her feel more in tune with her own emotions. "I feel vulnerable all the time. And I had to learn how to express that to my husband, to tap into those parts of me that missed him—and the sadness that came from that—so that he could understand," she explained. So if these two weren't solidified as your #CoupleGoals before, their ability to gracefully overcome a bit of marriage strife should plant them at the top of your list.

Related Stories