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First lady shares advice for couples

WASHINGTON - Here's Michelle Obama's advice for couples this Valentine's Day: laugh with your partner.

It's what she and President Barack Obama do, she says, and it seems to be working. Their marriage, tested through the years by his political ambitions - for the Illinois Senate, the U.S. Senate and later the presidency - is going on 19 years.

"I think a lot of laughing," the first lady said last week at a White House luncheon with reporters who asked about the Obamas' union. "I think in our house we don't take ourselves too seriously, and laughter is the best form of unity, I think, in a marriage.

"So we still find ways to have fun together, and a lot of it is private and personal. But we keep each other smiling and that's good," she added. It helps that her husband is "very romantic." "He remembers dates, birthdays," Michelle Obama said last week on "Live! With Regis and Kelly."

"He doesn't forget a thing, even when I think he is . . . I give him a little attitude, but he always comes through."

"Got to keep the romance alive, even in the White House," she said.

As for today, the first lady said her husband would do right by giving her jewelry. "You can't go wrong," she said.

But she also said they don't fuss too much over the day that's about celebrating love and affection between couples.

Last year, the Obamas spent Valentine's Day at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland. In 2009, their first year in the White House, they went home to Chicago and enjoyed a quiet dinner at Table 52, a traditional Southern restaurant owned by Art Smith, the former chef of Obama pal Oprah Winfrey.

How will they celebrate this year? Stay tuned.

"We don't make a big deal out of Valentine's Day because my birthday was the 17th [of January]," she told Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. She noted, too, that Christmas was just a few weeks before that. "So by Feb. 14, we're kind of tired," she said.

For her 47th birthday, the Obamas dined at The Source, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's restaurant at the Newseum in Washington.