Joe and Jill Biden Open Up About How the White House Changed Their Marriage: 'I Miss Her'
In a new Vogue cover story, Dr. Biden, 70, says that the couple tries to carve out time for one another — which can be a challenge because "we're both so busy."
"And so we have to, I think, try a little harder to make time for one another," she tells the magazine. "Even the thing about having dinner together: Sometimes we eat on the balcony; last night we ate in the yellow Oval, upstairs. It's just part of the day that we set apart, and we still light the candles, still have the conversations, still put the phones away."
President Biden, meanwhile, says the White House has changed the couple's marriage in the sense that it's led to more time apart.
"I miss her. I'm really proud of her. But it's not like we can just go off like we used to," he told Vogue. "When we were living in Delaware and married, once a month we'd just go up to a local bed-and-breakfast by ourselves, to make sure we had a romantic time to just get away and hang out with each other."
When the two are able to travel together, he continued, the obligations of their office often still take priority.
"And doing major events for me…and for the country. And so I'll find that I'm working on a hell of an important speech and I'm distracted. And then I may not be working on one and I want to go and hang out with her, and she's working on an important speech!" he said. "Or grading papers. We have to figure out a way—and I mean this sincerely—to be able to steal time for one another. I think that's the deal."
President Biden, 78, said that the first time he saw his wife speak in front of a large crowd, he thought: "That's my girl. So proud. She would just go do it, and she got better and better."
Their comments echo what the first couple told PEOPLE earlier this year, in their first joint interview upon entering the White House.
"Everybody says marriage is 50/50. Well, sometimes you have to be 70/30," President Biden said then, reflecting on their decades-long union and all that it had weathered.
"Thank God that when I'm really down, she steps in, and when she's really down, I'm able to step in," he said. "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."
Dr. Biden, her husband told PEOPLE, "has a backbone like a ramrod."
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"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 first lady told PEOPLE.
Speaking to Vogue, Dr. Biden also talked about her work as an educator, which she has continued as she has taken on the additional responsibilities in the White House.
"When I became second lady—and there was so much I wanted to do—I always said, 'I will never waste this platform,' " she said.
She is the first presidential spouse in memory to keep a separate job outside the White House. As an English teacher at Northern Virginia Community College, she goes by "Dr. B" to her students.
Noting that she now has "a bigger platform," she told Vogue she still has no desire to give up teaching.
"What could I give up? That I would want to give up? Nothing," she said. "If anything, I feel like adding more things, but I know it's not possible, because you want to stay centered, because you want to do things well. And there's so much to do. There is...so. Much. To. Do."