Michelle and Barack Obama will be celebrating 28 years of wedded bliss next month (Oct. 3). Given her successful marriage, it’s safe to assume the former first lady knows a thing or two about relationships. On Wednesday’s episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast, the Becoming author shared advice on how to pick a romantic partner. Michelle stressed you “have to know who you are to know who you’re looking for.” The mom of two has always thought if we approach marriage “like you would picking your basketball team, we’d have better marriages.”
“Because if you’re looking at a team, the people you want to win with, then number one you want everybody on your team to be strong,” Michelle explained. “You don’t want any weak links, you don’t want somebody that you can dominate, you don’t want somebody who’s kind of a loser, right? And also, if you’re on a team, you’ve got to be able to do everything, especially in basketball, it’s like, you would never pick somebody that says, ‘I only dribble. I don’t shoot. I don’t defend. I just dribble.’” She continued, “If we looked at marriage as a real team, then you want LeBron [James], you know?”
Michelle, who married Barack in 1992, noted that “people aren’t perfect” and “marriage is hard.” “It’s a struggle for everyone,” she said. “But, the question you have to ask is do you want to spend this life with somebody? Do you want to build something with someone? And there’s no magic way to make that happen.”
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It’s been another heavy stretch for so many of us. And this week’s episode of The #MichelleObamaPodcast is a conversation I had a little while back with my friend Conan O’Brien. It’s about marriage—a source of strength and perspective through times like these for so many of us. We reflect on our own marriages and experiences as parents––and talk about the importance of honesty, authenticity, and being your true self with your partner. And because it’s Conan, this one’s a lot of fun. I think we all can use that right now. Listen in at the link in my bio.
Although there is no magic way, Michelle suggested “getting the basics of finding somebody”—i.e. “being honest about wanting to be with them, to date them seriously, to plan on making a commitment to date them, seeing where it goes, and then making it happen.”
“There’s work and practice that goes into ‘I’m going to get off the apps, and I’m going to actually ask this girl out, and I’m going to take her out for a few months. I’m going to invest in this other person and then I’m going to see where that goes and if it doesn’t go anywhere then okay we’ll break up. Because that’s what dating is,” Michelle said. “You can’t Tinder your way into a long-term relationship.”