An Obama Kind of Love – The Couple’s Impact on Relationships


As the last days of the Obama administration drew to a close, the media and the general public engaged in the customary examination of the legacy left by the former president and first lady.

As I read or watched specials on this generation’s most celebrated couple, I began to formulate my own assessment of the Obamas’ legacy that won’t make the history books.

Barack and Michelle, the couple, epitomize love. Love of self, love of family, love of others, love of country, love of God.  But to me and many others they symbolize ideal romantic love, Black love in particular.

From the moment we were introduced to them as Potus and Flotus, we admired their grace, charm and charisma.  Soon we fell in love with the living representation of what we all aspire to have: a loving, caring relationship based on trust, mutual admiration and respect.  You can tell the interaction between Barack and Michelle is genuine and they deeply care about and admire each other.  I could easily picture the President coming home after a hard day and dropping his head in his wife’s lap, eliciting a gentle caress.  I could also see Michelle with lifted eyebrows and hands on hips voicing discontent with a “Now.  Barack!”  And my God, the pictures with the girls curled up in No. 1 Dad’s lap or him planting an affectionate kiss on Michelle’s cheek or the girls’ forehead!

The Obamas as symbol of love showed us that contrary to popular belief, Black love is neither non-existent nor unattainable. It does exist! We’ve seen it live and in living color – pun intended.  A successful relationship requires both luck or an act of God (finding the right person) and a solid personal foundation of what marriage is.  Those of us, believers, know that a good marriage begins with a focus on God and biblical principles. The Obamas demonstrated an effective recipe that contains these values:

Shared attraction + reciprocal admiration + mutual respect +trust + commitment = Successful marriage

Barack’s eyes broadcasted his appreciation for his wife and he unabashedly lauded her qualities every chance he got. Likewise Michelle boasted about her husband. She gushed about him like a teenager on the Ellen Degeneres show.  Theirs is an expressive, playful, trusting and yes, sexy relationship. I’m sure there are hiccups that are amiably worked out, but their admiration and respect toward each other were always obvious, even in the small gestures.


The nation witnessed yet again evidence of the unequivocal bond between the Obamas during one of their final public appearances on inauguration day.  When a soldier escorted Michelle to join the outgoing and the incoming president on stage, Barack lifted his wife’s hands to his lips and planted a quick kiss there. I fully understood that fleeting yet powerful gesture.  It said, “Thank you for being my best friend and being there for me from the first day down to the very last.”

In my humble opinion, the Obamas did for black love what the Huxtables did for the black family in a prior generation.  They demonstrated that regardless of culture or race, two people who are on the same page emotionally, intellectually, socially, morally and personally can maintain and enjoy that happy union called marriage.

That kind of love while not common is not however the exclusive domain of the Obamas. You’ve probably seen examples of it in your circle. I happen to know couples who exhibit that kind of passionate, loving and enriching relationship we’ve witnessed in the Obamas.  My pastors, Jerry & Jacqueline Martin of Houston, fellow Haitian artist Michèle Voltaire Marcelin and her social activist husband Jocelyn McCalla in New York and personal friends jazz duo Karen and Rick Pasek  of New Jersey are a few that come to my mind.

As we say goodbye to our beloved icons, and with Valentines’ Day around the corner, I wish you all “an Obama kind of love.”


Personal Note:  A week after Valentine’s Day this year, my husband and I celebrate fifteen years of marriage.  We began with the requisite ingredients for a good marriage, but over the years we had to use all the tools of success mentioned earlier to keep the story of us going.

Not all 5475 days were blissful, but with prayer and a committed mindset, our relationship stood the test of time and other challenges and continued to flourish. We’ve certainly aged in fifteen years; however, the essence of what attracted us to each other still provides reasons to like each other.  Every once in a while I get little reminders of why our marriage is good.  Recently I experienced a stressful incident at work.  I immediately picked up my phone and called him. When he greeted me with his customary “Hi, baby,” I said, “You know what, you are my best friend. You’re the first person I call whenever something important happens to me.”

In my memoir, “Cads, Princes & Best Friends,” that recounts a tumultuous decade in my life leading to meeting my husband, I expressed gratitude for being blessed with a best friend who is my prince. I will now add that through the years I’ve had a best friend who treats me like a princess.

Danielle Coulanges and Hamilton Lamarre are immensely blessed to have “that Obama kind of love.”  Our prayer is that you have/find the same thing too.

We wish you all ” an Obama kind of love!” and a Happy Valentine’s Day!



Photo credits

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I Choose to Be Thankful


Two weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday I was feeling particularly upset.  Overworked. Fatigued.  Frustrated.  My body felt like a wreck and I was emotionally and mentally drained. Everything got on my nerves and I was heading toward a private pity party.

Wait! Danielle. Stop complaining. You have so much to be thankful for.

For the next ten days every time I felt like complaining, I reminded myself to be thankful instead.

Wednesday – a full day on a blocked schedule with no breaks in between. I am completely worn out when I leave work.  Then I think about Thursday when I only see two classes and have an extended conference time. Woo Hoo!  Breathe. I get to catch up on my back log. I choose to be thankful!

Right upper arm – hurts like a new wound at the site of the scar where a growth was removed eight years ago when I reach to grab something on a shelve. Happens often. Doctor said there is no new growth. A Google search informed me that this is common. The nerve endings in the area of the scar are disconnected or something.  This will be a lifelong occurrence.  Okay then, let’s see.  I can still hold my beloveds in a bear hug. I can still lift my hand to praise The Lord. I choose to be thankful!

Need more sleep – hit the snooze all three times that morning. How I wish I could stay in bed, asleep!  One of my students, a bright and engaging young woman, appears to drag every morning that week. What’s wrong? I ask. “I’ve been going through some anxiety issues and am unable to sleep at night,” she replied.  My recommendation: chamomile or verbena tea, milk and honey, music…  Whoa! Here I am complaining and I’m getting at least six solid hours a night.  I choose to be thankful!

Right ankle – broken in a car accident when I was ten years old, buckles under as I walk.  I stumble.  This happens occasionally.  No heels this week Ms. Thing.  Podiatrist’s X-ray done a couple of months ago diagnosed arthritis and soft tissue damage in the area.  But, Ah!  I’ll be able to wear heels on Sunday, right? I am able to stand and walk? Dance at Zumba class?  I choose to be thankful!

30 minutes for lunch – I hate to eat in a rush. Bad for my genetic digestive issues. An older man, a teacher aide, comes into the teacher lounge. In a conversation about food he mentions being tired of eating soft foods, the only thing he’s able to process.  He initiated dental replacement back when he had a full time job and before turning 65. He got as far as partial implants. Medicare won’t pay the $10,000 cost of the remaining dentures and he can’t afford it on his own. I was chewing on a piece of chicken. I choose to be thankful!

Getting older is sometimes disconcerted. Why did I have to check the mirror when I was wearing my glasses and noticed all the grey eyebrow hairs? Wait! Once I “do” my brows, in pencil or gel, all you see are well arched brows.  Make up, what a blessing! I choose to be thankful!

Follow up doctor visit – apprehensive before I go. I am under medical observation because of a genetic illness in my blood that has the potential to become serious. My latest tests look great. Doctor gives me a clean bill of health, a six-month reprieve until my next visit.  I choose to be thankful!

Missing my husband – I burst into tears at the thought of how long we’ve been apart (I working in Texas and he in New Jersey). Lord! This is hard, but you have a plan. I know. Also, absence does make the heart grow fonder. I have a loving and fulfilling (albeit long-distance) relationship with a wonderful man. I look forward to every visit with great anticipation.  Our time together is so much richer particularly because we miss each other.

On this Thanksgiving morning, when I felt his presence asleep next to me, later when we busied ourselves in the kitchen preparing our version of the holiday meal that included Haitian style turkey legs and of course rice and beans, when we shared the festive meal in an intimate setting with my sister and two of her children and I prayed over the blessings of family, love, health, a beautiful home, a good job, great relationships, and so much more, I had very good reasons to be thankful!


New Neighborhood


Today I become a citizen of the vast writing world of Word Press as I move my blog from another server.

I am excited about connecting with a new community and look forward to reading what my neighbors have to say.  I also hope that as I share with you, my presence on this platform will contribute a ray of light into the world by touching somebody’s heart and spirit.

Be blessed.