On October 3, 1992, after a three year courtship, President Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson were pronounced man and wife by Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Their love story, which has inspired the country with its authenticity, began in 1989 when Barack interned at Chicago law firm, Sidley Austin LLP, where Michelle acted as his summer supervisor.
Barack, an ambitious student at Harvard Law School, persistently pursued Michelle, who finally relented to a lunch date. According to the novel “Obama: From Promise to Power” Mrs. Obama recalls thinking, “Oh, here you go. Here’s this good-looking, smooth-talking guy. I’ve been down this road before.”
Fortunately, as the two continued their relationship, Michelle learned of Barack’s authenticity, articulation and commitment to others, spurring her to realize that “this guy was special…and that’s why I fell in love with him.” After almost 20 years of marriage and two beautiful daughters, the Obamas’ public display of a strong, and unwavering love is an inspiration to us all.
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Why She Loves Him:
Although, Michelle may have had slight misgivings in the beginning of their relationship, she soon learned that “he [Barack] was a special person. And it had nothing to do with his education, it had nothing to do with potential,” instead “she fell in love with him for the same reason many other people respect him; his connection with people,” she stated while giving advice to a group of young London girls at Oxford University. Furthermore, during this talk, the first lady mentioned that she was “struck by the love Obama felt for his little sister and their mother, who died when they were young.”
Further strengthening her love, in 1991, when Michelle’s father passed away, Barack left in the middle of class, and flew to Chicago to provide support during her time of need.
Why He Loves Her:
Throughout his political career, Michelle Obama has proven to be Barack Obama’s personal and professional equal. As a Princeton alumna and fellow Harvard Law graduate, Michelle Obama has garnered both love and respect from her husband. In a 2008 MSNBC article, President Obama referred to “his wife Michelle as ‘the love of my life’ during his election night victory speech, embracing her tightly and kissing her afterward, while millions of people worldwide watched.”
Why They Work:
Ultimately, as an equal partnership and a working couple, Obama has stated, “What I value most about my marriage is that it is separate and apart from a lot of the silliness of Washington, and Michelle is not part of that silliness.” According to a New York Times profile on the Obamas, they have consistently had to combine politics and marriage and seamlessly make them work.
When interviewed about the Obamas, Gil Troy, professor of history at McGill University, stated, “unlike the Clintons — and more like the Bushes — the Obamas appear to be a solid couple, devoted to each other, with no fidelity questions hovering overhead.” Again, this devotion for each other came into play during an interview with Ebony when Michelle was asked about fidelity, declaring “That is between Barack and me,” she said, “and if somebody can come between us, we didn’t have much to begin with.” Maintaining their privacy in the media storm that is their life has been a constant battle, but they do so with grace and confidence.
Why We Love Them:
Where to start! From the images of them gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, to the physical support they provide each other and public displays of affection, we all have fallen in love with the first couple. For Americans, the Obamas provide an image of a powerful and positive black couple in love, which is not often portrayed in the media.
According to Micheal Perry, a librarian at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, “With such a high percentage of black people unmarried, everyone is looking for images of black love,” and “[The Obamas] personify that. It makes people say, ‘Wow, we want to be like them.’ ”
The Obamas serve as role models for a healthy marriage and the love and affection they share for each other appeal to the romantic in all of us.