It’s been nearly 80 years since former President Jimmy Carter first went on a date with Rosalynn Smith. Now, as the couple approaches their 75th wedding anniversary — a record for presidential marriages — Jimmy Carter considers marrying her the greatest achievement in his life.
Their marriage has withstood decades of intense public scrutiny because it is a “full partnership,” Jimmy Carter told the Associated Press. In fact, the struggles in their lives have helped to strengthen their bond.
And what’s the secret to having a long-lasting marriage?
Rosalynn Carter had more practical advice. She said they never go to bed angry and found common interests and hobbies that they could share. She told the NY Times they enjoy skiing, bird watching, and fly fishing.
Only one other president has been married for more than seven decades. George and Barbara Bush were married for 73 years when she died in 2018.
But what is now the longest presidential marriage almost didn’t happen as Rosalynn turned down her husband’s first proposal. But he, of course, wasn’t going to give in that easily.
“After a while, I changed my mind,” said Mrs. Carter, 93. She had hesitated originally because of a promise she’d made to her father that she’d graduate college first.
Rosalynn Carter More Political Than Jimmy Carter
After getting elected to The White House, the Carters worked as a team. Whereas today, many First Ladies will have an agenda they hope to accomplish while their husbands are in office. But it is their own. Rosalynn Carter set up in the East Wing a support network to help her husband get his agenda through.
‘My wife is much more political,’ he said, via The Daily Mail. For example, when he first ran for office, he didn’t need to ask his wife’s permission. She was already on board.
“I love campaigning, I had the best time,” she said. “I was in all the states in the United States, and I campaigned solid every day the last time we ran.”
And Jimmy Carter looked to his wife often for advice.
“We developed a partnership when we were working in the farm supply business, and it continued when Jimmy got involved in politics,” she told the AP. “I knew more on paper about the business than he did. He would take my advice about things.”
Since leaving the White House, Jimmy and Rosalynn, have dedicated their lives to advocate for human rights and public health initiatives. They also are big supporters of Habitat for Humanity, which helps build homes for those in need.