Michelle Obama Reveals the Secrets to a Good Marriage and How to Pick the Right Partner

Michelle Obama and Barack Obama’s marriage has been dazzling people around the world since before they became the first family. While Barack was in office, there was only so much that either of them could reveal about their personal lives. But now, through Michelle’s book Becoming and her podcast the Michelle Obama Podcast, the former First Lady is opening up about what it takes to make a marriage work and how to choose a good partner.

Michelle and Barack Obama
Michelle and Barack Obama | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

What Michelle Obama thinks you should look for in a partner

Michelle recently sat down with talk show host Conan O’Brien for an episode of her podcast where she discussed how to pick the right partner. She likened the process to choosing people to be on your basketball team.

“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,” she said. “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.’

“If we looked at marriage as a real team, you want your teammate to be a winner,” she continued. “You want LeBron, you know?”

But Michelle wasn’t talking about actually marrying LeBron James. What she meant was that you should be looking for the best person for you.

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“What you’re supposed to say, is, ‘I have married LeBron. My version of LeBron,'” she clarified. “[Your wife] is the LeBron James in your life.”

How to make a marriage work

One of the first steps to making a marriage work is picking the right partner. According to Michelle, relationships take hard work to keep going.

“People aren’t perfect,” she said. “Marriage is hard. It’s a struggle for everyone. 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.”

She told listeners that in order to pick someone who is right for them they would have to get really honest with themselves during the choosing process.

“There’s work and practice that goes into [deciding,] ‘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,” she said. “I’m going to invest in this other person. Because that’s what dating is. You can’t Tinder your way into a long-term relationship.”

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Michelle’s marriage to Barack may look great but it hasn’t always been easy. In Becoming, she details some of the harder moments of their union, like the miscarriage she suffered and how it made her feel lost and alone.

The Obamas have been putting in the work to keep their marriage going since 1992 and now commonly give advice to young people on how to have a successful partnership.