“I think a lot of people don’t have a clear idea of what they should look for in a mate—and for a long time, I didn’t either,” she admits. “What drew me to Barack was that when I met him, he was already a fully formed individual. From our very first conversations, he showed me that he wasn’t afraid to express his fears and doubts, or that he might not have all the answers.”
The 54-year-old author goes on to explain that she admired her now-husband’s willingness to embrace her own ambitions.
“He could handle someone with her own passions and goals, someone who had ideas of her own,” she says. “He relished it, in fact. I liked that…”
During the interview, Michelle also discusses the importance of a thriving community in order for parents and families to succeed.
“When I was raising young children, I learned to lean on a group of my friends in Chicago, women who, like me, had jobs and partners and children who kept them moving every minute,” she shares. “We’d help one another in very concrete ways, like picking up each other’s kids for dance lessons or a birthday party or anything else that came up.”
“Of course, we leaned on our husbands as well,” she continues. “But for me, there was something special—something vital, even—about sharing this experience with other women who were going through the same kinds of stresses and challenges that I was.”
Michelle's Essence issue hits newsstands on Nov. 23.