Michelle Obama's Marriage Advice Is Perfectly, Brutally Honest

Michelle Obama thoughtfully dismantled a myth we often hear about successful marriage.

President Barack Obama dances with his wife and First Lady Michelle Obama during the Western Inaugur...
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Michelle Obama is back with some more sound marriage advice. The former First Lady has been married to former President Barack Obama for 33 years, and over the years she’s shared some wisdom on how the two have remained committed. Most recently, Obama shared why she considers Barack her “home,” without sugarcoating the hard parts.

On Nov. 25, Obama shared a photo to her Instagram grid featuring four “photo booth” style pictures of herself and Barack. In the caption, she got honest about the struggles of marriage while offering advice to young people about navigating long-term relationships.

“As an adult, I’ve lived in a number of places, but as far as I’m concerned, I’ve only ever had one real home,” she begins. “My home is my family. My home is Barack.”

The activist then dug into a myth we often hear about how to make a marriage successful: that both people need to put in the same amount of work.

“Here’s the thing — our marriage has never been perfectly 50-50,” Obama shares. “One of us is always needing more or giving more. We have to be willing to listen to each other, honestly and without defensiveness. Only then, can we evolve together.” (Funnily enough, this same piece of marriage advice was once brought up by current President Joe Biden, who was the Vice President during Obama’s tenure.)

Instead of assuming the partnership always needs to be equal, Obama says it’s better to get used to the idea that you will be uncomfortable and arguments are inevitable.

“You have to prepare yourself for long stretches of discord and discomfort. You have to learn how to make real compromises in the way you’ve lived as an individual,” Obama explains. “Glamorizing a relationship while you’re dating will lead you straight to difficulty once you’re married. You can’t paper over problems when you’re living with someone day in and day out.”

Obama explains that her advice for making a marriage last through decades is about asking yourself and your partner some important questions.

“You’ve got to ask yourself: What are you trying to get out of this relationship? Have you truly thought it through?” she writes. “Do you want a wedding or do you want a lifelong partnership? Those are two very different things. Together, you are answering the question: Who are we and who do we want to be?”

Earlier this month, an excerpt from Obama’s second book, “The Light We Carry,” highlighted how she and Barack make their marriage work while still being authentically themselves.

“Our marriage is a place where we can each be thoroughly, comfortably, often annoyingly ourselves,” she writes. “For us, it's a solid certainty in a world where certainty seems hard to come by.”

Here’s one thing we’re certain of: It’s not just her marriage advice that’s top-tier. Her parenting advice is pretty fabulous, too.