Barack and Michelle Obama went to counseling since their marriage had become harder and as empty nesters, they are focusing on the future now.
Being in a stressful job for years can affect the people around us and our relationship with them. If that stressful job also includes being in the public eye and being under scrutiny 24/7, it can take a toll. We might have to redefine our relationship with them and rediscover what we mean to each other. Many couples course through hardships easily but there is no shame in saying that you needed support.
Former US President Barack Obama, 59, opened up about the difficulties his marriage with Michelle Obama, 56, went through when he was in office. Being the president of a country is likely going to need someone to work round-the-clock leaving hardly any space for anything or anyone else in their life.
In his new book, A Promised Land, he writes about when they "became friends as well as lovers" and describing her as an "original," as per CNN. He said that even though Michelle was successful and popular, she wasn't entirely happy when they were in the White House.
"I continued to sense an undercurrent of tension in her, subtle but constant, like the faint thrum of a hidden machine," Obama writes about his marriage. "It was as if, confined as we were within the walls of the White House, all her previous sources of frustration became more concentrated, more vivid, whether it was my round the clock absorption with work, or the way politics exposed our family to scrutiny and attacks, or the tendency of even friends and family members to treat her role as secondary in importance."
The father-of-two added that there were nights "lying next to Michelle in the dark, I'd think about those days when everything between us felt lighter when her smile was more constant and our love less encumbered, and my heart would suddenly tighten at the thought that those days might not return."
He is not the only one who opened up about the tensions in their marriage. The 56-year-old former First Lady spoke to Oprah about her marriage to Barack for Elle's December 2018 cover. She said that Barack's political career created difficulties for a long time in their relationship.
"When you get married and have kids, your whole plan, once again, gets upended," she said. "Especially if you get married to somebody who has a career that swallows up everything, which is what politics is. Barack Obama taught me how to swerve. But his swerving sort of—you know, I’m flailing in the wind. And now I’ve got two kids, and I’m trying to hold everything down while he’s traveling back and forth from Washington or Springfield. He had this wonderful optimism about time," Michelle laughed. "He thought there was way more of it than there really was. And he would fill it up constantly. He’s a plate spinner—plates on sticks, and it’s not exciting unless one’s about to fall. So there was work we had to do as a couple," she added.
She realized that they needed support in their relationship and just like people seek therapists for mental health problems she sought out a counselor for their marriage. However, she said that she didn't go to a counselor for the right reasons but learned to do so eventually.
"Well, you go because you think the counselor is going to help you make your case against the other person," she said. "'Would you tell him about himself?!' And lo and behold, counseling wasn’t that at all. It was about me exploring my sense of happiness. What clicked in me was that I need support and I need some from him. But I needed to figure out how to build my life in a way that works for me," she added.
The mother-of-two has grown-up daughters in college and is keenly feeling the emptiness of her nest, but it reportedly improved her relationship. "Parenting takes up a lot of emotional space," she told Winfrey, as per Elite Daily. "I put a lot of time and energy into parenting these girls but right now we are trying to make their lives normal — so that means weekends were a pain. We had to worry about what parties they were going to, whether there was alcohol, I had to know who the parents were, so every weekend for me was hard."
With their kids gone, she can now focus "all that energy" on herself and in "spending time figuring out my next chapter, how I want to spend the rest of my life."