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Michelle: “I have freed myself to put me on the priority list and say, yes, I can make choices that make me happy, and it will ripple and benefit my kids, my husband, and my physical health. That’s hard for women to own; we’re not taught to do that. It’s a lesson that I want to teach my girls so they don’t wait for their “aha” moment until they’re in their 30s like I was (laughs). Maybe they can experience it a little earlier.”

Source: Liz Vaccariello. “Michelle Obama’s Secrets to a Happy, Healthy Life.” 11/2009.

It doesn’t take an expert in body language to see that the first couple is totally into each other. And while I don’t claim to know a single thing about their sex life, I do believe they have one, and a healthy one at that. Actually, we don’t have to speculate too much about the Obamas’ love life because they’ve already told us a lot about it in a 1996 interview with the French newspaper Le Monde entitled “An Intimate Conversation With Michelle and Barack Obama.”

Why should we care about our president’s love life? Because with all the talk of rebuilding our country, our relationships could use some rebuilding too: Divorces are rampant, infidelity is out of control and sex ruts are epidemic. So perhaps our first couple can teach us a thing or two (or actually five) about how to have a successful marriage:

1. Regardless of how long you’ve been together, you still need to maintain a sense of surprise. Says Barack Obama, “Sometimes, when we’re lying together, I look at her and I feel dizzy with the realization that here is another distinct person from me, who has memories, origins, thoughts, feelings that are different from my own. That tension between familiarity and mystery meshes something strong between us. Even if one builds a life together based on trust, attentiveness and mutual support, I think that’s it’s important that a partner continues to surprise.”

The president couldn’t have said it better. Marriages are built on a foundation of responsibility, dependability and predictability. But sexual attraction is based on spontaneity, unpredictability and, to Obama’s point, a little mystery. Reconciling those two opposite poles — familiarity and mystery — is one of the biggest challenges a couple faces, and it starts with cultivating a sense of newness and surprise.

2.Show a little tenderness. Says the president of the first lady, “If you look deep into her eyes, there’s a certain vulnerability.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely observed during their interviews together that they do make a lot of eye contact with each other, and I have no doubt he has spent much time looking deep into her eyes. Non-physical intimacy outside the bedroom is key to a loving, intimate sex life, and it’s refreshing to have a first couple who are so comfortable kissing, dancing, cuddling and holding hands.

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