Oprah's Christmas-themed chat last night with the Obamas managed to include an interesting conversation on marriage and compromise. Watching the First Couple together, I had an epiphany: everyone deserves a relationship like the Obamas'.
Now, I know a mini-cottage industry has sprung up for the sole purpose of analyzing the Obama's marriage. And Kate Harding touched on much of it when she analyzed the NY Times Magazine cover story about the First Marriage and the dynamics of power inherent in a relationship when one person is the President. She noted:
Despite my focus on the First Lady's sacrifices and the inequality of the marriage here (I am a humorless feminist, after all), Kantor's portrait of the Obama's marriage is really quite sweet, warts and all. They joke. They flirt. They go on dates and ignore the conservatives who flip out about our tax dollars going toward dinner and a show. That's just not the whole picture, and Michelle herself believes revealing the warts has a higher purpose.
Yet, for some reason, I couldn't shake the thought of two pieces on The Root about what reasonable expectations are for a mate. Jenée Desmond-Harris, in a piece called "What Single Women Can Learn from Michelle,"advised women to learn toembrace your goofy, badly -dressed, non dancing nerd and David Swerdlick, writing a response called "What Single Women Can't Learn From Michelle," asked all the single ladies to stop looking for the next President, stop gold-digging, realize hidden potential, and, uh, date outside the race.
I had issues with these types of articles before, but it wasn't until watching Barack Obama give Michelle the eye, laugh and joke, and actually listen to her speak instead of cutting her off like so many other powerful male public figures that I realized what people who say they want a Barack Obama actually want.
They want a partner that treats them with love, honors them by respecting their opinions, and listens like a friend.
Somehow, I don't think that's too much for any of us to ask for.