The longest-married presidential couple will mark their iconic milestone with a party a few days after their anniversary.
Jimmy Carter knew his wife, Eleanor Rosalynn Carter, since the day she was born. 96-year-old Carter, who was three at the time, went with his mom to see the newborn baby, per Good Housekeeping. Little did they know that they would end up spending the rest of their lives together, and become the longest-married-presidential couple.
According to The New York Times, it all began in 1945 when Carter, who went on to be the midshipman in the Navy, was home on a break and needed a date one evening. So, he confided in his younger sister Ruth, who said she'd set him up with someone who had a crush on him. That "someone" was none other than her friend, Rosalynn, who had already noticed Carter when he'd walk through their small town of Plains, Georgia, in his crisp white uniform.
A double date and movie later, Carter realized he had met the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He told his mother "there wasn't a doubt" in his mind that Rosalynn was the one he wanted to marry. "I knew that she was quiet, she was extremely intelligent ... beautiful," he previously said on Oprah. "There was just something about her that was irresistible."
Almost six months after that date, he proposed to Rosalynn, now 93, but much to his surprise, she said no to him. ABC News states this was because she wanted to complete her college because that's the one thing she'd promised her father when he was on his deathbed.
He admitted he "grieved and persevered," when she refused his proposal, but Carter, not being one to give up that easy, was planning to propose to her again. That's when he gifted her a compact engraved with ILYTG, which stood for: "I love you the goodest." Luckily for him, she said yes that time, and on July 7, 1946—after Jimmy Carter graduated from the United States Naval Academy—the two exchanged vows at a Methodist church in Plains.
Now, nearly eight decades since, the couple still stay in the small town that witnessed them grow from little children to lovers to spouses, cites AP. “It’s a full partnership,” the 39th president of America said, during an interview. Carter, 96, who left the Oval Office in 1981, is also the longest-living of the 45 chief executives who have served the country.
It's no easy feat to remain married for this long, but the Carters have a piece of very simple advice that helps them through tough times. “My biggest secret is to marry the right person if you want to have a long-lasting marriage,” Carter said. “Every day there needs to be reconciliation and communication between the two spouses,” the former president said. “We don’t go to sleep with some remaining differences between us,” he said.
Rosalynn, 93, also spoke about the importance of finding things that are interesting to both. “Jimmy and I are always looking for things to do together.” But, this doesn't mean you stick to each other like glue, because “each (person) should have some space. That’s really important.” The Carters have plans to celebrate their "incredible milestone" by throwing a party a few days after the actual date, per PEOPLE. “We have too many people invited,” Rosalynn Carter said with a laugh. “I’m actually praying for some turndowns and regrets.” Here's hoping the two celebrate more milestones in the coming years.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff