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President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on Keeping Their Marriage Strong Under Public Stress

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are settling into their new life in the White House as Biden begins his presidency. But the couple, who worked in the public eye for eight years previously when Biden served as President Barack Obama’s vice president, is no stranger to the stress working in politics can put on a relationship.

In their first White House interview, The two spoke candidly to People about how they’ve maintained their 43-year marriage.

The President and First Lady kissing last week on the White House grounds.

JIM WATSONGetty Images

It comes down to unyielding support and strength, Joe said: “She has a backbone like a ramrod,” he said of Jill. “Everybody says marriage is 50/50. Well, sometimes you have to be 70/30. Thank God that when I’m really down, she steps in, and when she’s really down, I’m able to step in. We’ve been really supportive of one another. I’ve read all that data as well about families under pressure, and that’s why I’m glad she kept her profession. It’s really important that she’s an educator, although she took off two years when we first got married because the boys were little. It’s important that she has the things that she cares a great deal about, her independence. And yet we share each other’s dreams.”

Jill added, “All that we’ve been through together—the highs, the lows and certainly tragedy and loss—there’s that quote that says sometimes you become stronger in the fractured places. That’s what we try to achieve.”

The President added that, sure, they could both do their jobs without each other (Dr. Biden is teaching English at Northern Virginia Community College in addition to her First Lady duties), but they’re better together. “We each could do our jobs, but not as well as we do them,” he said. “I don’t think I would have stayed involved in public life. Jill came along at a really important point and put my family back together. She’s the glue that held it together, and I knew that I wanted to marry her shortly after I met her. …It’s not that we don’t fight and argue sometimes. I’m just lucky.”

Jill added with a laugh, “Well, after 43 years of marriage, there’s really not that much more to fight about.”

You can read their full interview here.

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