A very interesting Newsweek essay calls Barak and Michelle Obama’s union “Our Model Marriage” and claims that “the Obamas have the kind of relationship millennials aspire to.” All you have to do is watch them slow dancing to tuba music at last month’s Youth Inaugural Ball, with President Obama “resting his head, eyes closed, on Michelle’s shoulder” to realize that this is a love that’s hard to fake.
Romano calls their marriage “a union of self-sufficient equals” that appeals to 20-something people who are struggling to establish their independence before embarking on married life, which is viewed apprehensively in today’s culture of 50 percent divorce rate, a steep rise in single parenthood, and a culture captivated by cheap celebrity hookups.
“But now the Obamas—two independent individuals who also appear to be (surprise!) in love—have filled the void. For young people who have rejected the tired “wife in the kitchen” template but resolved not to follow their parents to divorce court, it’s a relief to see that the sort of marriage they hope to have—equal and devoted—can actually exist.”
Sometimes, the Obama’s really let do it all hang out. According to Romano, comments about waking up “snorey and stinky,” or ” I would never [cheat]. Michelle would kick my butt,” serve to enhance their image as a modern, open, relaxed couple with a strong marriage. Romano states, “Ultimately I think it’s the Obamas’ willingness to act in public much how they act in private—open, informal, flirtatious—that has incited most of the swooning.”
I tend to agree that what we can see of the Obamas marriage is enviable, and can serve as role models for the rest of us. But as nice as the displays of public affection are, the public would do well to remember that the President and First Lady are not just another celebrity couple. There is much more to a good marriage than meets the eye, including compromising and working through challenges. Any married couple can tell you that even the best marriages have their ups and downs. No doubt the Obamas have experienced their share of mistakes, disagreements, misunderstandings, but I imagine that their commitment, honesty, mutual respect, and sense of humor have served them well.
What do you think about the Obamas’ marriage? Do you see their relationship as something you’d like to emulate? Are you moved by their public display of love and camaraderie? I’d love to know what your ideas of a “model marriage” are. Please leave a comment!