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A Fresh Healthy Image of Marriage at Midlife

This is the month. We have arrived at a new beginning. And it’s not just in politics. As President Obama is sworn into office, we have more than a new administration: we are experiencing a refreshingly new, modern, healthy, and human example of marriage.


It has been striking how many people I work with have incorporated the image of Barack Obama as their inspiration and affirmation of calm in the face of intensity and challenge. Regardless of partisan politics, we all need images like this. They remind us

     in powerful visual terms,

          of what’s possible,

               of what’s admirable,

                   and therefore what we aspire to for ourselves.


Neuroscience tells us that our brains need merely evoke these images to be positively affected by them.


And so, ready yourself for another image, one of modern relationship,

     filled with new hope  

          for love,


                   and teamwork.


We have already witnessed significant moments in relational attunement with the Obamas:


·      We recognized that a fist bump that rocked the world was fundamentally an intimate exchange and expressed a personal language of marriage amidst a global moment.


·      There was a graceful dance of relatedness in their body language as they stood on the most watched stage in election history--their attachment to each other remained transparent and consistent rather than being overshadowed by the greater concerns of the world at large.


·      Then, under the scrutiny of a 60 Minutes interview, we witnessed their capacity for presence, respect, attunement, and attentiveness to each other. It touches our hearts because it is real and human rather than a made-for-primetime-marketing-mockup.


In all of this we are witnessing authenticity and intimacy—two qualities that each of us as relational beings sorely need to have modeled for us.

Authenticity and intimacy do not require perfection, from us or from the Obamas. Those two qualities invite us, however, to step forward toward our personal and relational potential, to honor who we are as individuals and the way we make contact with each other.


Yes we can be better relational beings. By focusing on good examples we are all positively affected.