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Raising the Bar on Marriage

The Obamas Are Raising the Bar on Husbandly and Wifely Behavior

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Photo: Pete Souza / The White House

Obamas on freight elevator January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Photo: Pete Souza / The White House
The attractiveness of the marriage of Michelle and Barack Obama is due to their obvious affection, respect, love, and kindness for one another. Their marriage gives other married couples both challenge and hope.
Lani Guinier on the Obama effect on marriages: “She [Michelle] and her husband [Barack] embody a very healthy relationship. That in itself is quite a public and political statement.”
Source: DeNeen L. Brown, Richard Leiby. "The Very Image of Affirmation." WashingtonPost.com. 11/21/2008.

Gaby Wood: "Together, they present the most collaborative, romantic, intelligent and relaxed couple that has ever been anywhere near the White House ... she is not competitive with him. As a couple they are, one campaign worker has said, 'almost telepathic', and certainly such public displays of private affection as they have offered have not existed in politics for decades ... The Obamas have the devotion of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and the glamour of the Kennedys."
Source: Gaby Wood. "Barack and Michelle: a Chicago love story." Guardian.co.uk. 11/9/2008.

Here are ways we believe the Obamas are raising the bar on husbandly and wifely behavior.

Some of the Positive Qualities Displayed by the Obama Marriage

  • As busy as they are, Barack and Michelle make time for one another.
Tonya Lewis Lee asked Michelle, "How do you and Barack deal with being apart for an extended period?": "We have adjusted to maintaining a really solid relationship at a distance. We talk every day, every night. If we have a moment, no matter how tired we are, we go on a date."
Source: Tonya Lewis Lee. "Michelle Obama Looks Back (And Ahead!) Lifestyle.msn.com.
  • Along with being devoted to one another, the Obamas are friends with each other.
  • Barack and Michelle have learned the importance of balancing marriage and work.
  • In the Obama marriage relationship, time apart or time alone is not something to be feared.
  • Michelle and Barack know how to have fun together. They allow playfulness to be part of their marriage.
  • The Obamas have a companionate marriage and are able to communicate as equals.
  • Barack and Michelle are kind to one another in little ways, such as Barack giving Michelle his jacket when she was chilly.
  • The Obamas are supportive of one another.
  • When you hear the Obamas talk about their relationship with one another, their sense of commitment to one another is strong. They plan on growing old together and enjoying the benefits of a long term marriage.
  • Barack and Michelle are able to laugh together.
  • They are not afraid of appropriate public displays of affection. The Obamas hold hands, touch one another's shoulders, lean in towards one another when talking, flirt with one another, and give affectionate looks to each other.
  • Barack and Michelle make eye contact with one another while they are talking to each other. The First Couple listen to one another.
The Hendricks: "When Michelle Obama is speaking, though, Barack looks at her and listens. When he's speaking, she looks and listens. It's a refreshing exception, and a key to the respect that flows between them."
Source: Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks. "Obama Marriage Body Language: One Aspect We Should All Emulate." HuffingtonPost.com. 11/21/2008.

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