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Michelle Obama explains why she is open about her marriage struggles and describes how she raised her kids

Michelle Obama talks marriage, parenting
Michelle Obama and Gayle King talk marriage, parenting and why voting matters 14:31

Former first lady Michelle Obama has been open about her marriage struggles, saying last year she "couldn't stand" her husband, former President Barack Obama, for about a decade when their two children were little.

She told "CBS Mornings" Thursday that she opens up about these things "because marriage is hard."

"And a lot of young people quit on marriage over things that are just a part of the commitment," she said. "We've been married for 30 years. If I fell out with him for 10, and we had a great 20 years, I'd take those odds anytime."

She said that at a time when marriage is glamorized and "more about the dress," it is incumbent upon people who have had successful marriages to be honest about the fact that making a commitment to be with someone means compromise, which "ain't always fun."

She said adding kids to the mix makes it even harder.

"Don't add kids to the mix, because they really mess up your life," she joked.

Together, the Obamas have raised 24-year-old Malia and 21-year-old Sasha, including while they were at the White House. Michelle Obama said the girls were "way more blessed" than she and the former president ever were, and that she wanted them to understand gratitude.

Learning to parent "with more" was new to Obama, who said she wants her daughters to be independent and have compassion and empathy. She has also wanted them to know their happiness is up to them — "that the world doesn't owe them anything, and neither does anybody else."

"Control happens when you know how to make yourself happy, where you know how to create your own joy," she said.

With that comes boundaries, expectations, responsibility and "handing them their lives early." She said she has sought to not be afraid of letting them fail and "sit in their failure."

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