Michelle Obama shares how marriage counselling with Barack helped their relationship

Must See 30/11/2018

They may appear to have the absolute picture perfect marriage, but it hasn't always been that way between Michelle and Barack Obama.

In her newly released memoir 'Becoming', Michelle reveals that she and Barack have had counselling during hard times in their marriage. She said she included the details of the counselling in her book so other couples could see that a successful marriage takes hard work, and that there is no shame in seeking professional help. 

"Marriage counselling for us was one of the ways where we learned how to talk out our differences. I know too many young couples who struggle and think that somehow there is 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," Michelle says.

Among the issues they faced in their marriage was their difficulty to conceive a baby. Michelle shares in her book her experience of suffering a miscarriage, and her use of IVF treatment to conceive her daughters Malia, 20, and Sasha, 17.

She discusses how when she was trying to get pregnant, Barack had recently gone into politics, so she was left at home to administer her IVF shots herself. She then also carried a lot of the child-rearing responsibilities as Barack stepped into more demanding roles, and this put a strain on their marriage. 

"Because we're role models, it's important for us to be honest and to say, 'If you're in a marriage and there are times you want to leave, that's normal' – because I felt that way. There were definitely times when I wished things were different, but I don't think I ever thought, 'I'm just checking out of this'."

She wanted her daughters to know that "Mum and Dad had to work through some stuff. And people you love and people you want to build a life with, you're going to have to work through stuff with."

Michelle was no stranger to the political world, with her father being an elected official in the Democratic Party, and working in the office for the Chicago mayor herself in the early 90s. 

"I could see how disruptive it could be to family life, how all-consuming it could be. Politics was never anything I would have chosen for myself. It was very difficult being married to a man who felt like politics was his destiny," she said.

She could "feel the force of his beliefs" and agreed with his ideas, but was worried being married to a man with such a strong personality would cause her to lose herself. "It was destabilising, but it was a motivator so that I didn't just become his woman, which I knew I didn't want to be."

She wrote about all these issues in her book to push her main message: "I want young people to know there are highs and lows and rough patches and things you have to overcome."