Married 18 years, the current first lady and her husband have a fairly healthy marriage. In a recent article, their marriage was highlighted for “still enjoying dates” after 18 years of marriage. To that I say “bravo” and also ask a question: why is this newsworthy? The majority of couples I know and have worked with that have been married for any major duration still date each other.
Still it’s a good lesson and example for other married couples. What other lessons can we learn from the Obama’s marriage? Here are my observations and advice.
They date each other. I’m sure it is difficult to do this with any regularity given the hectic nature of their work, but it is wonderful to see a couple committed to being together when possible.
They support each others’ endeavors. Clearly Mr. Obama could not have achieved the presidency of the United States of America without her support. A marriage is a team effort, sometimes you’re the star, sometimes your the leader in assists.
They find safety in each other. The President is quoted in the article as calling Michele his “rock”. We should each strive to be the rock in our spouse’s lives, so that we always know where our anchor points are, especially in the stormy times.
As stated in the article, Mrs. Obama publicly airs her husbands dirty laundry (no pun intended). She makes him the butt of jokes and has other laughs at his expense. Though viewed by all too many as acceptable, and though the spouse may laugh it off, this behavior has strong potential to hurt feelings and damage the marital relationship.
“Never laugh at your mate either in private or in public. Partners who laugh at their mates may think of it as good-natured humor. It is not. It is degrading and dangerous to the relationship. The one so ridiculed will be hurt deeply. To make a joke about private things a husband or wife did at home reveals either a lack of sensitivity or hidden malice and anger created by frustration or hurt feelings. Couples who respect each other do not resort to such degradation.” -Hugh Pinnock
The toughest thing that the Obamas face in their marriage is the extended periods of separation. Our men and women in the military also endure this, but it is not always necessary for the President to travel solo. Whenever possible, even when dealing with important matters of state, when you’re on the road as often as the PoTUS, it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities you have to be together.
Here’s the practical advice:
- Date Your Wife – Make time for that regular communion together. Talk about the important things. Reacquaint yourselves. Rejuvenate yourselves together. Sheila Gregoire talks about the important items to cover when dating, and how to build them into our daily lives in her post this last Wednesday.
- Express Love Frequently – Doesn’t have to be a big production every time, but a gentle touch here, an “I love you” there goes a long way.
- Praise in Public (& in Private) – Our spouses continually move towards becoming what we say they are. Compliment her, build her up. With your support, she’ll continue to grow, and become even more amazing than she already is.
Above all else: Love Your Wife!