Say what you will about the president and his opponent, they both seem to have exceptionally happy marriages, especially compared to some other high profile couples of late. Ahem, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Obviously, looks can be deceiving. Take John Edwards for example. None of us knows the behind-closed-doors reality of other peoples' marriages. Still, since President Obama burst onto the national political scene at the 2004 convention, everything we have learned about him reflects what seems to be an exceptionally healthy, happy, loving marriage.
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So, what lessons can we glean from the president's relationship with his wife? For starters, Barack and Michelle prioritize date nights. And, as a D.C. resident, I have been caught in more than one traffic jam that resulted therefrom.
They also talk about keeping each other real. Over the years, many of my psychotherapy patients have mentioned that they feel inspired by the way the President and First Lady speak about each other. For example, at the Democratic Convention, when Michelle Obama said, "we were so young, so in love and so in debt," it helped young couples know that it's possible to get through challenging financial times and that love does make a difference.
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The next morning, my client told me, "It's easy to resent each other for all of our student loans and the stress of trying to get by. Hearing Michelle Obama put it together like that — so young, so in love, and so in debt — what can I say? She helps me appreciate the love in my life and helps me regain a positive perspective."
Similarly, many of my clients, regardless of their political affiliation, have felt deeply moved by the way Ann Romney describes the exceptional support her husband has shown throughout her struggle with multiple sclerosis. Hearing Mitt Romney's description of falling in love at a high school party is one of many examples of their love story that has had a positive impact on others.
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