FAMILY & PARENTING

Michelle Obama Says Empty-Nesting Allows Her And Barack To ‘See Each Other Again’ In New Ways

by Angela Andaloro

Michelle Obama’s marriage to Barack has been one of the most beautiful examples of love we’ve been lucky enough to witness.

We watched as the family flourished in their time in the White House. In the years since, they’ve continued to be a beautiful example of a hardworking family living life to the fullest.

Michelle, in particular, has enjoyed great success. Her memoir, Becoming, sold over 10 million copies and hit No. 1 on The New York Times’ bestseller list. The audiobook of Becoming even won Michelle a Grammy.

Michelle was discussing her success and the changes in her life with Oprah Winfrey at the Brooklyn stop of Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus tour.

During her conversation with Oprah, Michelle revealed all the ways her marriage to Barack has grown and evolved recently. In the fall, the couple became empty-nesters as Sasha went off to college. Michelle discussed how the change has freed up emotional space and changed their interactions with one another.

Michelle Obama is one of the most accomplished and successful women of our generation. She’s far more than a former first lady. Today, she’s a New York Times bestselling author, Grammy winner, and so much more.

Michelle discussed all the wonderful things that are going on in her life today with Oprah Winfrey. The conversation took place in Brooklyn, New York, and was part of Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus tour. The former first lady also touched on her past in the White House, as well as hopes for the future.

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From our family to yours, #HappyThanksgiving!

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Barack and Michelle became empty-nesters this past fall when their younger daughter, 18-year-old Sasha, went off to college. The moment was emotional for the couple, although it didn’t hit them until they were dropping her off. Michelle noted because they were “busy with the busy stuff,” adding “you’re not thinking about the emotional stuff.”

“When the emotions come is when we are getting in our cars and getting on a plane and leaving our babies,” she said of the moment when she and Barack most felt the gravity of the change. “They’re going somewhere where they now live. That’s when it hits you. It’s like we all start choking up.”

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Look who dropped by tonight! ❤️ #IAmBecoming

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It also marked a new stage in their lives and relationship. As the two are settling into calmer times in parenting and their careers, they are discovering each other in new ways. Michelle told Oprah that it had them “seeing each other again.”

“Parenting takes up a lot of emotional space,” she noted. “Raising a family together is a hard thing. It takes a toll. But if you’re with the person, if you know why you are with them. You understand that there was a friendship and a foundation there.”

Michelle also pointed out that while all marriages have their ups and downs, you can’t let your struggles define your relationship. “You can have chunks of hard, bad times and if that’s how you define your marriage by just the hard times, then you’ll miss the truth of what’s really there,” she said.

Barack and Michelle have enjoyed 27 years of marriage together. It’s obvious to anyone who hears one speak of the other just how much they cherish their bond. For their anniversary in October, Barack shared his love for Michelle on Twitter.

Like the Beatles said: It’s getting better all the time. Thanks, babe, for 27 amazing years!” the former president tweeted.

“27 years ago, this guy promised me a life full of adventure,” Michelle wrote in her own anniversary post. “I’d say he’s delivered. Here’s to our next chapter of becoming empty nesters and discovering what’s next—while still feeling the magic that brought us together all those years ago. Happy anniversary, Barack. 💕”

Oprah noted that every time she’s seen Barack and Michelle since they left the White House, they seem happier and happier. Michelle said that it’s just because that intense, stressful time in their lives full of grueling work has come to a close. “We are happy people but why wouldn’t we be?” she mused.

“We have our health. We have each other,” she continued. “We have a sense of purpose. I mean there are things to complain about, he and I believe the two of us, we don’t have anything to complain about. That’s why we believe we owe so much because so much is given, much is expected. So I cannot sit up here and complain about my life.”

As for Michelle’s purpose, she believes it’s to help the youth. “The next phase of my journey of becoming is really continuing to make sure that what I do has meaning and purpose to somebody outside of myself,” she explained. “So my vision is, in particular, is to keep helping young people define and build and support that next generation of leaders.”

“To help them understand a broader sense of balance that they can operate within because I do think that we are short on that right now,” she continued. She noted how young people seem “hungry” for change in a way we haven’t seen before. She hopes to be part of what drives that forward.

“My hope is that I want to empower young people,” she said. “I want to empower the next generation of politicians, and community activists, and teachers and doctors and lawyers. I want to be a part of laying out a set of values and principles that we can all be proud of, of this country.”