Michelle and Barack Obama are going back to their romance roots
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Michelle and Barack Obama are going back to their romance roots.

Since leaving the White House in January 2017, the former first couple have been reveling in the one thing they rarely shared during their eight years as president and first lady: alone time.

“We are finding each other again,” Mrs. Obama says in an exclusive at-home interview with PEOPLE about her post-White House life and new memoir, Becoming, on sale now. “We have dinners alone and chunks of time where it’s just us — what we were when we started this thing: no kids, no publicity, no nothing. Just us and our dreams.”

The former first lady, 54, went on to reminisce about the couple’s recent getaway to Palm Springs — without daughters, Malia, 20, and Sasha, 17 — which marked “the first time in a long time it was just the two of us.”

Credit: Miller Mobley/foureleven.agency

For the full PEOPLE interview with Michelle Obama, including intimate details of her new laid-back life with Barack, pick up the new issue on newsstands Friday.

Michelle Obama on the cover of PEOPLE
| Credit: Miller Mobley/foureleven.agency

“And it was good,” she said. “We swam, we sat, and he wrote because he’s still writing his book. So he’s a little resentful,” she added with a laugh.

Despite their recent marital bliss, Mrs. Obama also spoke candidly with PEOPLE about more troubled times in their seemingly perfect union, including one point when the former first couple sought help from a marriage counselor.

Credit: Miller Mobley

“Because we’re role models, it’s important for us to be honest and say, if you’re in a marriage and there are times you want to leave, that’s normal — because I felt that way,” the former first lady says.

The Obamas on their wedding day
| Credit: Michelle Obama/Instagram
Obama Portrait, Washington, USA - 12 Feb 2018
Michelle and Barack Obama
| Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Did she herself ever consider leaving Barack? “There were definitely times when I wished things were different,” Obama tells PEOPLE, “but I don’t think I ever thought, ‘I’m just checking out of this.’ “