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Barack Obama Opened Up About How The White House Strained His Marriage To Michelle— “my heart would suddenly tighten”

In Barack Obama’s newest 768 page memoir, A Promised Land, the former president sheds some light on his covetable marriage to his wife Michelle Obama. In the honest memoir, the former president recalls the moments that threatened the strength of his marriage to the former first lady recalling how he consulted with his wife about running for president when it was already too late; he’d already done quite a bit of work without telling her.

“She gave me a hard look and got up from the couch. ‘God, Barack…When is it going to be enough?'” Obama explained in the memoir. “Before I could answer, she’d gone into the bedroom and closed the door.”

Speaking about their marriage in the memoir and with People Magazine for a new interview, Obama explains how his role as president created a rift in their relationship that he thought was once impossible to repair.

Obama explains that his time in the White House was wracked with marital tension.

“Michelle very much believed in the work I did but was less optimistic about what I could get done. … She’s more skeptical about politics and more mindful of the sacrifices to the family,” he revealed.

Still, Obama says “I think we came out of it whole… There were great joys in the White House. There was never a time where we didn’t recognize what an extraordinary privilege it was to be there. Most importantly, our children emerged intact and they are wonderful, kind, thoughtful, creative — and not entitled — young women. So that’s a big sigh of relief.”

In an interview with People, Obama opened up about the part his role as president had on affecting the happiness of his wife and the former first lady.

People describes politics as “a blood sport” which Michelle Obama always hated and how Obama’s “preternatural ease” contributed to the feelings of loneliness she felt while in the White House.

“There were times where I think she was frustrated or sad or angry but knew that I had Afghanistan or the financial crisis to worry about,” Obama explaned, “so she would tamp it down.”

Addressing a passage in his latest memoir, Obama recalled “There were nights when lying next to Michelle in the dark, I’d think about those days when everything between us felt lighter when her smile was more constant and our love less encumbered,” he writes, “and my heart would suddenly tighten at the thought that those days might not return.”

Fortunately, People asked if they ever found their way back to those days.

“We did,” Obama told the magazine. “It was like a big exhale right after we left office… It took some time to talk about how she had felt… Once [the presidency] was done, there was possibility of her opening up … but more importantly, just her being able to let out a breath and relax.”

Obama shared that these days the former First Lady is “more relaxed and more joyful since we left office.” The resulting effect has been that it has allowed the Obamas “to just enjoy the deep love that comes with a marriage this long. But also to be friends again.”

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The Dominican Republic Finally Outlaws Child Marriage After Years of Campaigning by Girls’ Rights Activists

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The Dominican Republic Finally Outlaws Child Marriage After Years of Campaigning by Girls’ Rights Activists

Image via Getty

Outside of the U.S., some good news has occurred amidst a week that has otherwise been full of mayhem and chaos.

On Wednesday, the Dominican Republic’s Executive Branch approved a law that unilaterally bans child marriage in its country.

In the past, children younger than 18 were allowed to marry with a special exemption from a judge. These exemptions happened often. Now, no woman or man under the age of 18 are allowed to marry under any circumstances in the Dominican Republic.

This move is significant because the Dominican Republic has the highest rates of child marriage in Latin America and the Caribbean. Official government figures show that 36% of Dominican girls and adolescents marry or enter into “unions” before the age of 18. In 12% of these relationships, the female partner was less than 15 years old.

More informal “unions” where a girl simply moves into an older man’s household are also common in the DR. These are very common in higher poverty communities where many girls are considered a financial burden on their families. Unions like these will be harder to penalize because there is no formal documentation of their partnership.

There are multiple factors that play into the Dominican Republic’s high child marriage rate.

One of the main factors is the culture of machismo that informs the way that young men and women approach relationships.

According to research conducted by Plan International, 81% of Dominican girls said they preferred men that were five years older than them. This statistic is in stark contrest to 39% of Dominican men who prefer their partners 18 or younger because they found them more “obedient” and “adaptable”.

Not only that, but there is also a strong cultural expectation for girls and women to become mothers and wives. These cultural beliefs have simply stoked the practice of child marriage.

“Child marriage and early unions are seen as normal in society. It is driven by machismo that sees the role of a woman to be just a mother and wife,” said Rosa Elcarte, UNICEF’s representative in the Dominican Republic, to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Ending early unions will require years of work to change cultural norms.”

Feminists and human rights activists consider this law a win after many years campaigning to put an end to this practice.

But on a bittersweet note, many advocates realize that one law doesn’t dismantle the patriarchal structure of their culture that enabled this practice for so long. There is still a lot of work to be done.

“Our girls and adolescents will be protected … and cannot be forced into marriage in their childhood or adolescence, which in the past was often carried out by parents and legally allowed,” said Sonia Hernandez, an associate director of the International Justice Mission, in a statement to NBC News.

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Barack Obama Says He Had To Quarantine With Malia’s British Boyfriend

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Barack Obama Says He Had To Quarantine With Malia’s British Boyfriend

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If you’re not living alone in quarantine-life, you know that these months indoors have made it nearly impossible to NOT get to know the people around you better. Tight quarters and days on end together have made some couples and broken others. Fortunately, it seems for the Obamas quarantine has done the latter.

Former President Barack Obama shared the lessons he’s learned in quarantine after giving some very rare insight into what it was like in his family’s household during the beginning of the pandemic. According to Obama, the quarantine didn’t just include him and his wife Michelle. Or even just their daughters Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19.

Malia’s British boyfriend also joined in for the self-isolation period.

In an interview with Bill Simmons podcast this week, Obama opened up about his favorite part of COVID-19 isolation with his family.

“I think, [like] a lot of families, we went through that first month where we were playing games every night and doing little arts and crafts projects and then slowly, you know, they started to get a little bored with us,” he explained. “Maybe teaching Malia and Sasha, and Malia’s boyfriend who was with us for a little while, spades.”

The former president went onto add that Malia’s boyfriend is “British…wonderful young man, and he was sort of stuck because there was a whole visa thing and he had a job set up. So we took him in and I didn’t want to like him, but he’s a good kid. The only thing you discover—this is not a surprise to you, Bill, because you’ve got a son—young men eat. It’s weird to watch them consume food. My grocery bill went up about 30 percent.”

Speakingto InStyle last month, Obama opened up about his daughters’ personalities.

“Sasha is, as Malia describes it, completely confident about her own take on the world and is not cowed or intimidated—and never has been—by anybody’s titles, anybody’s credentials,” he said. “If she thinks something’s wrong or right, she will say so. When she was 4, 5, 6 years old, once she made a decision, she would dig in and couldn’t be steered off it. I write about it in the book, how we were trying to get her to taste caviar when we were visiting Russia. She was like, ‘Mnn-nnh. No. Sorry. That looks slimy. It’s nasty. I’m not going to do it—even if I’ve got to give up dessert.’ And that part of her character has always been there.”

“And Malia, she is just buoyant,” Barack he went on to share. “She’s somebody who enjoys people, enjoys life, and enjoys conversation. She’s never bored, which is a badass quality that can take you places.”

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