Jimmy Carter & Rosalynn Carter Celebrate 75th Anniversary Of Marriage
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter celebrated their 75th anniversary on Monday – four of those years were spent in the White House. The couple is the longest-married presidential couple in United States history
“We’ve survived this long together because first of all, we give each other plenty of space to do our own thing,” he said.
Jimmy and Rosalynn spent a lot of time together during the COVID-19 pandemic. They told ABC News’ Steve Osunsami that spending so much time together only brought them closer.
“We have hardly left our house,” Jimmy said during the interview in their hometown of Plains, Georgia. “Before that, we had not been together all that much – ordinary family travel and so forth.”
“It was just Jimmy and me,” said Rosalynn. “And it was really wonderful.”
At 96, Jimmy is the oldest-living and longest-living president in U.S. history. He and Rosalynn have known each other for most of their lives. When they were younger, they lived nearby each other in their hometown of Plains; Rosalynn was best friends with Jimmy’s younger sister, Ruth.
“I spent a [lot of] time at that house, but he was always off at school,” said Rosalynn. “He was so good to Ruth. He would write her letters, and she talked about him all the time. And she had his photograph on the wall in her bedroom. And I literally did fall in love with that photograph.”
Jimmy Carter recalled that after going on a first date with Rosalynn, he told his mother “That was the girl I wanted to marry.”
Six months later, he proposed to her, but she said no. Rosalynn had promised her father on his deathbed that she was going to graduate from college a few years earlier.
“But he was persistent,” she said.
The two got married in 1946 at a Methodist church in Plains after Jimmy graduated from the United States Naval Academy.
“It was happy and joyful and obviously long-lasting,” said Jimmy. “Rose did say ok finally, and staying with me all this long has been the most wonderful thing in my life.”
The two have done a lot together, including bird-watching, skiing and fly fishing, which they have done in several countries.
“We make a big one-week trip out of that,” he explained. “We have made that a major part of our recreation.”
Jimmy revealed that last year, he and Rosalynn would still fly fish often at their home in Plains.
“We’re always looking to do things or find things we can do together, like fly fishing and bird watching and just going out to the pond, catch a fish,” said Rosalynn.
After getting their COVID-19 vaccine, the couple said they returned to Church on Sundays.
Jimmy and Rosalynn read the Bible together every night. “We’ve done that for 60 years, probably,” he shared.
“When I’m overseas and Rose is at home, we know we’re reading the same biblical text, and even though we’re separated physically, it makes us think about the same scripture and admonition from God, direction from God before we got to sleep,” he said. “So it helps a lot.”
They also shared that they try not to go to bed angry, as the Bible says.
The two have volunteered in Habitat for Humanity for decades. They have taken part in the annual, weeklong event, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project to help build and renovate homes in several countries.
“We’ve been blessed to be able to travel the world, almost,” said Rosalynn. “Everything with Jimmy Carter has been an adventure.”
To celebrate 75 years of marriage, the two have planned an anniversary party at a hometown school.
“We’ve got everything arranged so we can accommodate a big crowd,” he said.
Jimmy also bought his wife a diamond necklace, with “75” engraved in the back. She said she hasn’t taken it off since he gave it to her last month.
“For 75 years of marriage we’ve always gone deeper in our love for one another,” said Jimmy. “I think that’s a kind of extraordinary thing. Doesn’t happen to very many couples, but it certainly happened to us.”