There are several reasons I haven't considered running for president. But it is actually more mind-boggling for me to consider the situation of Michelle Obama. Here are the top five remarkable things about her relationship with Barack and her family.

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The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, November 8, 2008. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at PsychologyToday.com.

The Bravery of Michelle Obama

There are several reasons I haven't considered running for president. But it is actually more mind-boggling for me to consider the situation of Michelle Obama. Here are the top five remarkable things about her relationship with Barack and her family.

  1. She fell for Barack Obama. Michelle has described encountering Barack as a young lawyer at a Chicago corporate firm at which she worked (she was 25, Barack 27). Aside from her commitment to her career, she was annoyed at all the hype that accompanied Barack's appearance, and so she turned him down the first couple of times he asked her for dates: "Here's this good-looking, smooth-talking guy. I've been down this road before." But she soon fell hard for him. Critical in this development was Barack taking her to one of the community groups with which he worked, which showed her that he wasn't simply interested in taking his Harvard law degree (one of which she also had) to the bank. Note the good values they shared.
  2. She supported her husband through the hard years. Although Barack Obama has been elected president at the youthful age of 47, he nonetheless spent many years in the wilderness - or at least in the Illinois Senate, where he was elected for three terms (1997-2004). The Illinois legislature is located in Springfield, 150 miles from their Hyde Park home, so that Barack spent most of his week nights in a motel for years, while his wife tended the home fires, saw to their children, and generally carried on without her husband's regular presence. They spoke nightly on the phone, however.
  3. She loves her husband. The Obama's became involved in 1989, but 20 years and two kids later, they still seem to be going strong. Witness his calling her "the love of my life" during his speech before a 100,000 people plus on election night, and her kissing him on the lips, putting her hands round the back of his neck, and mouthing the words, "I love you." (Perhaps it's unkind, but compare their connection to the McCains' perfunctory pat on the elbow and kiss on the cheek the same night.) And, I may be going way out on a limb here, but I'm guessing Barack doesn't cheat on his wife!
  4. Accepting the dangers of the presidency. When Colin Powell was being considered as a presidential candidate, his wife nixed the idea out of fear for his safety. What would make her concerned over that - other than the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr., the murder of John Lennon, and the shooting of Ronald Reagan? And none of those men was the first African-American president!
  5. Caring for her children. What challenges are posed for the mother of two young children of the President of the United States in terms of raising them to be normal, unaffected, good people? In preparation for this, Michelle - who calls herself an information gatherer - is consulting with Hillary Clinton, Maria Shriver, Laura Bush, Rosalynn Carter, and anyone else with comparable experiences. What she is seeking to accomplish is reflected in her appreciation for Chelsea Clinton: "You can tell from one conversation with Chelsea that she's a mature, decent, well-balanced young lady." This has to do with insulating children from the political world surrounding them.

Michelle Obama gives the impression of being a strong - even powerful - equal partner in a remarkable story, one which is still unfolding. What a treat to watch her accomplish her and her husband's goals!