The couple got married on July 7, 1946, and hold the title of the longest-married Presidential couple.
It looks like the Carters were way ahead of their time when it came to using acronyms before social media made it huge. The 98-year-old Jimmy Carter coined the acronym "ILYTG" while sending sweet love notes to his then-girlfriend and later wife of several decades, Rosalynn Carter, 95. The couple got married on July 7, 1946, at a Methodist church in Plains, Georgia, and are now the longest-married Presidential couple.
When Jimmy was a smitten young Naval officer in the 1940s he began a tradition that lasted years. "'I love you the goodest', That's what my mother and daddy used to say back and forth, and I picked it up with Rosa," the country's 39th president told PEOPLE in 2014, in a joint interview with his wife Rosalynn.
The heartwarming monogram is inscribed on a compact he once gave his bride and is still on display at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta to this day. It's even inspired the rest of the family to express how much they care. "Now all our children do the same thing – ILYTG on the phone or in emails. They generally just put the initials," Jimmy Carter said. "And sometimes they change the initials and make you guess what they're talking about," he added.
In 2019 the pair became the longest-married presidential couple passing the previous record holders George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. In July 2022 they hit another milestone and celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary. Carter even knew his wife from the time she was born; he went with his mom to see Rosalynn as a newborn baby when he was just three years old at the time.
According to NPR, Jimmy's mother was a nurse who helped care for baby Rosalynn and their families lived just three miles apart. Over the years, Rosalynn became best friends with Jimmy's younger sister. When she was 17 years old she went on their first-ever date in 1945. Jimmy was 20 years old at the time. "I thought he was the most handsome young man I had ever seen," she wrote in her memoir, First Lady from Plains.
A year later they got married and the two have been together for over seven decades! The couple ended up raising a big family and have four children, 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren together.
Carter, who got married to Rosalynn Smith when he was just 21, and she, 19, credits his marriage for his long and healthy life. "I think the best explanation for that is to marry the best spouse, someone who will take care of you and engage and do things to challenge you and keep you alive and interested in life. One of the things Jesus taught was, If you have any talents, try to utilize them for the benefit of others,” Jimmy told PEOPLE.
The Carter Center which was founded by Jimmy and his wife in 1982 has assisted in a wide range of humanitarian efforts for 40 years now.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | (L) Photo by Hulton Archive (R) Photo by Mark Wilson