Relationships take work, A LOT of work.
When you are living a life that involves a partner, compromise, understanding, forgiveness, and love are all keys to a successful relationship. But what happens when you get married, the wedding and honeymoon is over, and you are faced with real-life and its problems? With the divorce rate in America being the highest compared to the rest of the world, staying together 'til death do you part is a daunting task in and of itself. Former First Lady, Michelle Obama recently revealed that despite what we may think, not even she has been exempt from experiencing marital tribulations.
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Michelle Obama recently sat down with Robin Roberts to discuss some of the topics in her highly anticipated memoir Becoming, and during the prime-time special (airing November 11 at 9 pm EST), Mrs. Obama reminds us that politics is just a small part of her life.
Barack and Michelle exude couple goals. They are seemingly a match made in political heaven and a beacon of hope for what marriage can and should look like. But for those who think that this image comes without a lot of work, you are sadly mistaken. In a conversation with Robin Roberts, the former First Lady revealed that the couple sought marriage counseling in its early stages. Michelle said that during this time, she learned an invaluable lesson:
"What I learned about myself was that my happiness was up to me. I started working out more. I started asking for help, not just from him but from other people. I stopped feeling guilty. It's important for me to take care of myself. That's not on Barack."
Michelle and Barack Obama ride on his campaign bus in New Hampshire after a late night of campaigning in 2008Callie Shell
It's easy to think that love conquers all. But like anyone who's ever been a long-term committed relationship can attest to, sometimes just being able to communicate effectively can come with its own set of challenges. Michelle told Robin:
"For those young people out there who think that marriage is supposed to be easy. Marriage counseling for us was one of those ways where we learned how to talk out our differences."
Learning how to love the other person in the way they desire to be loved can be a huge learning curve, and sometimes you need an outside perspective in order to learn how to do it right. Just like there is nothing wrong with getting the help you need when it comes to your mental health, there is absolutely no shame in talking to a counselor to preserve your marriage. Michelle had this advice for couples that may be struggling in their own relationships:
"I know too many young couples who struggle and think that somehow there's something wrong with them. And I want them to know that Michelle and Barack Obama, who have a phenomenal marriage and who love each other, we work on our marriage. And we get help with our marriage when we need it."
Perhaps one of the ultimate tests to a marriage is fertility issues. With more and more high-profile people coming forward with their own struggles with fertility, the veil is slowly being lifted on this very private and difficult subject. In the interview, Michelle also revealed that although the couple had everything going on externally, "It turns out that even two committed go-getters with a deep love and robust work ethic can't will themselves into getting pregnant."
She tells Robin Roberts that when she was struggling to get pregnant and subsequently suffered a miscarriage, she felt "broken". The 54-year-old goes on to reveal that she eventually enlisted the help of a fertility doctor and used IVF in order to conceive both Malia and Sasha. And while the "biological clock is real", the more women are willing to talk about what's happening with their bodies, the more we are able to heal from within.
It's so easy to say #RelationshipGoals from the images we see, but we don't get to see the real work that is put into keeping and maintaining that goal. Relationships are work, and it's a full-time, hard job. We praise the image without thinking about what it takes to get there. Let's start by praising the folks that take the time to focus on their problems while taking measurable steps to heal. While things haven't always been perfect between Michelle and Barack, they took the time to work through their issues and managed to come out stronger on the other side. Now THAT'S real relationship goals!
Michelle Obama's book Becoming will be released on November 13. She is also starting a nationwide book tour promoting the work, with tickets available here. Be sure to set your DVR or have your popcorn ready on Sunday, November 11 for the full interview with Robin Roberts at 9 p.m. on ABC.
To watch a preview of Michelle's exclusive interview with Robin Roberts, check out the video below:
Michelle Obama opens up about miscarriage, new memoir 'Becoming' youtu.be