By Bridgette Bartlett and Charreah Jackson
America and the world are captivated by the country’s new First Lady and President. Many single ladies are out to meet a Mr. Obama of their own. We’ve studied the strong bond between our First Couple for tips to find and keep a first-class guy. Just remember that no relationship is perfect, as you discover the love of a lifetime.
Think Outside of the Box
Having grown up in Hawaii and Indonesia and with half of his family in Kenya, President Obama had a background a lot different than the First Lady or anyone she knew. She embraced his unique cultural background and was exposed to exciting new things in the process. Keep in mind that you may have something to learn from the delivery man you’ve been secretly eyeing and you could probably teach him a few things.
Here the couple gets tested for HIV in the Kenyan city of Kisumu in 2006, before heading to his grandmother’s village.
No Money, Mo’ Problems?
Despite driving a car with a frayed floorboard and no hope of a new automobile in sight, Mr. Obama was enough man for our First Lady. She stood by the man who started out as her mentee. The Chicago native could’ve possessed the “I’m better than this” mentality and found a mate who was more on her “level,” but instead she took a ride through the rough roads, kept the faith and let go of the ego. Don’t let his lack of material things blind your perception of him. Give him a head start and later on he could give you the world.
Be Open to Love From the Most Unexpected Places
At her Chicago law firm, First Lady Michelle Obama heard all about the bright new intern who would go on to be her husband and the President of the United States. But in the summer of 1989, she wasn’t impressed, and even after meeting him, she was extremely hesitant to go out with a subordinate. After trying to set him up with other friends, she finally accepted his offer for a date and has never looked back. Instead of keeping your eyes straight ahead for Mr. Right, look around for the great guys that cross your path in your daily life.
Kick the List
At one point in time, we’ve all written out our list of the top 100 things we want in a man, but take a note from Mrs. Obama’s book. Mr. Obama possessed a habit deemed unpleasant to many (smoking), but the First Lady didn’t write him off because of his vice. Be lenient on “deal breakers” and give some guys a chance. He may not be No. 1 in your mind, but at the blink of an eye, he could top this list: Person of the Year.
Don’t Stop Grinding
Mrs. Obama held on to her $200,000-plus salary as a high-ranking hospital executive even after her husband accepted his position as a state senator. She could’ve chosen to stop working and become a trophy wife but she remained true to her own dreams and desires as a career woman. Something tells us that ambition is one of the reasons Mr. Obama still looks at her with a twinkle in his eye.
Get Over His Wardrobe
Mrs. Obama discovered a diamond in the rough when she began dating the President, if you judge by the latest fashion trends. She looked past his well-worn shoes and suits to see a heart of gold, a passion to change the world and sex appeal that transcends the latest fashion craze. And 15 years later, while on the campaign trail, Mrs. Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha ratted out Dad for the pants he was wearing for being a decade old and his far-from-new belt and shoes. A man who chooses substance over style will make a great choice in the long run.
Always Have His Back
President Obama has mentioned that the First Lady always vouches for his good sense of humor when others say otherwise, but most importantly she showed the world her undying support for his decision to lead the nation.
“You’ve got to make trade-offs in life,” Mrs. Obama told ESSENCE in September 2007. “I’m okay with that. I’ve come to realize I am sacrificing one set of things in my life for something else potentially really positive.”
Learn to be his confidant and also his reality check.
Don’t Neglect Your Inner Circle
We’ve all had that girlfriend who finds a man and becomes missing in action for everyone else. But not our First Lady. Not only did Mrs. Obama’s friends become the President’s friends, but she also kept her mom with her all the way to the White House (literally). Bring along the people who played an integral part in the person you are. Just like your mate, these people also play a vital part in your happiness and wholeness. Always keep friends and family close to heart to make for a healthy relationship.
Make Your Desires Known
Mr. and Mrs. Barack Obama may appear like the perfect married couple, but getting the President down the aisle wasn’t a sure thing. The duo had many back and forth discussions on if marriage meant anything, but Mrs. Obama was vocal of her want for him to put a ring on it. Over an upscale dinner in 1991, again Mrs. Obama laid out the reasons for them to get married and was speechless when dessert was served and she discovered an engagement ring, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. Be upfront on what you want out of the relationship when you meet a special guy and share the benefits for both of you, without giving an ultimatum.
Join Forces for a Greater “Us”
With a successful career of her own and potential to go even higher, First Lady Michelle Obama left her top job to campaign full-time for her husband’s presidential bid and tend to their family. She continues to be one of his biggest cheerleaders. Whether it’s your man’s barbershop goal or graphic designer desires, be creative and supportive to help him be successful, while humming along to Fabolous and Ne-Yo’s hit: “I’m a movement by myself, but I’m a force when we’re together.” When one partner achieves his or her goals, you both win.
Take Me As I Am
Our President decided to become a community organizer on Chicago’s Southside although he had the option to work at major law firms with his enviable credentials. Instead of thinking he was nuts for passing up the high-paying salary and fancy title, Mrs. Obama accepted and supported his passion. Said the First Lady in our September 2007 issue when she recalled hearing her husband speak to a group of inner-city women in a church basement for the first time, “Right then and there, I decided this guy was special. And that’s why I fell in love with him.”
Consider Waiting to Have Junior
Mr. and Mrs. Obama waited six years to begin a family, and for them, it seems as though that wait paid off. While we’re certainly not knocking anyone who chooses to have children early on in a relationship, there does seem to be benefits to waiting for offspring. The Obamas had the opportunity to travel the world together, establish their careers and further build their union before little Malia and Sasha entered the picture. Couples should try to have children on their timetable, not anyone else’s.
Don’t Take Yourself or Your Relationship Too Seriously
Part of the appeal of the President and First Lady is their ability to relate to the everyday person by being approachable, and there unaffected attitude also keeps their love going strong. Mr. and Mrs. Obama may be Ivy League-educated lawyers and he the Leader of the Free World, but neither was above shaking a tail feather with Ellen DeGeneres on her show. Couples that can laugh at themselves and each other can keep things that matter in perspective and find peace when the tough times come. So, loosen up in love!
Don’t Stop Dating
When pictures surfaced of the Obamas happily having a “date night” last fall, women around the world quietly cheered. Far too many couples stop engaging in such acts once they’ve been together for a few years or after the children come along. Consider establishing a dinner and a movie night even if it is just once a month to keep the fire burning in your own relationship.
The Obamas leave Spiaggia restaurant after having dinner November 8, 2008, in Chicago.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Last October, the President admitted to reporters at the Chicago Sun-Times that he actually forgot his wedding anniversary the first year of his marriage. Imagine if that had been a deal breaker for Mrs. Obama! When asked by the paper about his secret for staying married 16 years, the Commander-In-Chief responded, “never get so mad that you forget why you love them.” Duly noted, Mr. President.