Advice & OpinionCelebritiesLove Marriage/DivorceMust ReadRelationships

Michelle Obama’s Philosophy on Marriage: ‘You Have to Be Prepared to Have Long Stretches of Discomfort’

Article By Aditi Shrikant

~ NOVEMBER 2022 ~

In her new book “The Light We Carry,” Michelle Obama gets personal.

The former first lady discusses her dad being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the importance of nurturing friendships, and the challenges of childcare.

She also delves into relationships, not only her own but what she sees happening with the younger generation.

In an interview on NPR’s Life Kit podcast, she shares the advice she tells any young adult who asks her about marriage: “You have to be prepared to have long stretches of discomfort,” she said. “And [by] long I mean it lasts for years.”

‘Marriage is never 50/50’

When it comes to long-term relationships, not enough people give realistic advice, Obama said.

“I am fascinated by how little we talk to young people, young adults about what it actually means to partner with somebody and what those compromises look like,” she said.

A common misconception about marriage is that there is equal give-and-take at all times

“Marriage is never 50/50,” she said. “You kind of wonder how that idea got out there.”

I am fascinated about how little we talk to young people, young adults about what it actually means to partner with somebody.

Over the course of many years, the amount of compromises might even out, but there will be periods where you feel like you are putting in more work than your partner and vice versa.

“If I look over my marriage, if I were to judge it in year 5 or year 10, there was never 50/50,” she said. “Somebody was always giving way more.”

When it came to prioritizing their careers and family, for example, she had to make some tough choices.

“There were times when I felt I was 70% in and he was doing 30% and I had to compromise, as he has,” she said. “Because of the choices that I made and the terms of how I wanted our family to look, I had to take my foot off of my career gas pedal, never putting on the break, but slowing up a bit.”

These are “natural compromises,” she said. Many young people, though, aren’t sent this message and give up too quickly.

“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,” Obama said. “They quit before they’ve really played out the full scenario.”

A version of this story originally appeared here on

Back to top button