Falling head over heels in love can be scary, but once Barack Obama won over Michelle Obama‘s heart, they decided that nothing could tear them apart — even the White House! Though they knew that they wanted no one else but each other, Michelle says that Barack constantly being away when he was in office put such a strain on their marriage that she began to feel “vulnerable.”

“I feel vulnerable all the time,” Michelle recently revealed in the January issue of Good Housekeeping. “And, I had to learn how to express that to my husband, to tap into those parts of me that missed him — and the sadness that came from that — so that he could understand.”

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama
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Although Michelle and Barack chose each other as their life partners, the FLOTUS admitted that she sometimes wished her husband would understand what loneliness felt like. “He didn’t understand distance in the same way. He grew up without his mother in his life for most of his years, and he knew his mother loved him dearly, right?” she said. “I always thought love was up close. Love is the dinner table, love is consistency — it is presence.”

Michelle learned to change her definition of love so that her longtime marriage with Barack could flourish. “I had to share my vulnerability and also learn to love differently. It was an important part of my journey of becoming. Understanding how to become us,” she shared.

Barack Obama Family
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“A lot of the reason I share this is that I know that people look to me and Barack as the ideal relationship,” she added.  “I know there’s #relationshipgoals out there. But whoa, people, slow down — marriage is hard!”