If you’re going to get relationship advice from someone, the Obamas seem like a great place to start.
When Barack Obama’s former adviser announced he and his girlfriend were moving in together, the president shared some advice.
Dan Pfeiffer had a job most of us could only imagine: advising then-President Obama. Of course, that didn’t stop the commander-in-chief from occasionally dropping some personal wisdom of his own.
When Pfeiffer was leaving his post in 2015, he told Obama about his plans to move in with his girlfriend, Howli. “So are you guys moving together? This is the one, huh?” Pfeiffer recounts Obama asking him in his new book, “Yes, We (Still) Can.” Hey, no pressure. Your boss, the most powerful person in the world, is just asking if you’re ready to make a long-term commitment to your partner.
According to Pfeiffer, Obama was “always very proud of the hundreds of relationships that had sprung from his campaigns and administration.”
So he decided to offer his outgoing employee a little personal advice for choosing a partner.
Obama apparently has some key advice he likes to give about marriage.
His three key points for love and marriage might sound a little basic on first glance, but there’s plenty to unpack.
1. “Is she someone you find interesting?”:
“You will spend more time with this person than anyone else for the rest of your life,” Obama said, “and there is nothing more important than always wanting to hear what she has to say about things.”
After all, how many relationships begin based purely on physical attraction or “chemistry”? And there is almost no greater sign that a relationship is in trouble when one partner starts to tune out the other. Staying interested — and interesting — is essential.
2. “Does she make you laugh?”
Anyone who has spent time on a dating app can tell you one of the most common requests is “someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.”
Laughter can help us navigate tough times, relieve stress, and also serve as an important way to communicate hard truths. And, on a deeper level, to know someone’s sense of humor is a way of showing you’re listening and paying attention to how they see the world and what matters most to them.
3. “And I don’t know if you want kids, but if you do, do you think she will be a good mom?”
Not everyone will be a parent and not everyone needs to. But the general sentiment of Obama’s question still has value because being “a good mom” really is about being a good caregiver. How we take care of the people in our lives — and what example we choose to set for others — says a lot about our character.
“Life is long,” he said. “These are the things that really matter over the long term.”
Pfeiffer says he took the advice to heart. He and Howli got engaged and then married in 2016.
The Obamas’ marriage and partnership as parents has set a positive example for Americans and people around the world.
For eight years they lived under the world’s spotlight, raising their two daughters and navigating life in the White House. They never lectured but continue to show us their obvious affection for each other and their shared, ongoing compassion for the American people.
There’s so much to consider before getting married: finances, health and what kind of future you want. But Obama’s advice — staying interested, remembering to laugh, and being with someone who displays empathy and compassion — are three great factors to keep in mind.