Jimmy Carter and his wife make a public appearance on their birthday

Jimmy Carter, who served as the 39th President of the United States between 1977 and 1981, and his wife of over seven decades, Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, are a synonym for a happy marriage. In fact, the couple is recognized as the longest-living presidential couple in the history of the country.

Former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary today.

VOA correspondent Kane Farabaugh shares some of the secrets between this partnership, which has the longest marriage in United States presidential history.
Jimmy Carter admits that when he was 21, marrying his girlfriend, Rosalynn Smith, then 18, was not a sure thing.

“When I first proposed to Rosalynne, she said no.”

But persistence paid off and the couple married on July 7, 1946, in their hometown of Plains, Georgia. 75 years later, the former president says one of the secrets to their long and successful marriage is space.

“We follow some rules that we have agreed on. We give each other space to do personal things and try to find things we want to do together and try focus on those. We chose to go skiing when I was 62 and she was 59. We are also passionate about birds, tennis, and fishing together. So we have a lot of common things that we do together.”

Mr. Carter says that while this strategy doesn’t always prevent disputes, it has helped keep them short.

“We get angry often, but we try to forget the fights before we sleep,” says Mr. Carter

Author Jonathan Alter spoke to VOA via Skype.

“Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have the most successful partnership in the history of the American presidency.”

Jonathan Alter is the author of the book “His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life”. He says Mr. Carter might not have become president without Rosalynn’s help in his successful campaign for the White House in 1976.

“Rosalynn stands out for her political acumen,” says author Jonathan Alter.

“What if the husband and wife had different political opinions? I think the fights would be frequent,” says Mrs. Carter, the wife of former President Carter.

“Fortunately, Rosalynn and I agreed most of the time, mostly in 1976!” says the former President with a smile.

Jonathan Alter, the book’s author, says the Carter couple’s relationship is historic and unparalleled.

“Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter had a very close personal relationship within their marriage, closer than Franklin and Eleanor or Bill and Hillary. In this way, Rosalynn Carter had an incomparable influence on her husband’s decisions.”

“I could advise him and I think that developed our relationship. Respect for each other grew. I respect what he can do and he respects what I can do. Since then, it’s been a wonderful partnership,” Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady of the United States, told VOA.

Since leaving the White House in 1981, the Carter couple has been engaged in efforts to fight disease and promote democracy in the world through the non-profit organization The Carter Center. Recently, the couple has had health problems and has been staying close to home in the state of Georgia, where they are celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary with several hundred family members and friends.

“They can live anywhere in the world and many presidents have left their cities. They are safe here, we love them and care for them and they know it. They love to walk the streets of their hometown like they’ve done since they were kids,” says Jill Stuckey, a friend of the Carter family.

Their hometown will also be where they will be laid to rest together forever, in a cemetery near their favorite fishing pond.

In October of this year, Jimmy will also reach an important milestone. He will be 98.

“He reads his Bible every day, is engaged in family meetings, and chimes in on decisions related to the Carter Center in Atlanta,” said Tim Buchanan, with the Friends of the Carters organization.

We are so glad that even during their golden years, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter live their lives to the fullest.

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