Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter said that their relationship has evolved but grown stronger over time.
It was in 1945 that Jimmy Carter was set up on a date with his sister Ruth's friend Rosalynn Smith. More than 75 years later, the couple is still married and deeply in love. “It’s a full partnership,” the former president ahead of the couple’s 75th wedding anniversary on July 7, reported NBC News. The pair tied the knot in 1946 after his graduation from the Naval Academy. Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the United States and former commander-in-chief still maintains that the most important decision of his life was to marry Rosalynn. He knew he was going to marry Rosalynn the morning after their first date. When his mother asked about his date, and what he thought of Rosalynn, he simply replied, “She’s the one I’m going to marry.” Close to seven decades later, the pair continue to live in Plains, Georgia, where they first met.
They are the longest-married presidential couple in American history. Jimmy Carter, who's 96, is also the longest-lived President. Jimmy Carter says the secret to a successful marriage is to find the right person. “My biggest secret is to marry the right person if you want to have a long-lasting marriage,” said Carter of his wife, Rosalynn, who's 93. “Every day there needs to be reconciliation and communication between the two spouses,” said Jimmy Carter, before explaining that they have maintained a long tradition of reading the Bible together aloud every night, even when separated by their travels. “We don’t go to sleep with some remaining differences between us,” he said. “Jimmy and I are always looking for things to do together,” said former first lady Rosalynn Carter, before adding that everyone needs their own space.
After his father died in 1953, he moved back to Georgia and took over Carter farms while Rosalynn Smith ran Carter's Warehouse, a farm supply company. The couple lived in public housing, making Jimmy Carter the only President to have lived in subsidized housing prior to becoming President. Despite the first tough year, the peanut farm became successful. When Jimmy Carter made his first bid for office a few years later, he didn't seek her permission but she was on board once he told her. "I love campaigning. I had the best time. I was in all the states in the United States. I campaigned solid every day the last time we ran,” said the former first lady.
The couple's relationship dynamic has changed over the years but with time it has become a full partnership. “I was the boss,” said Jimmy Carter recently, recalling their early days as a couple. “The first part of our life, I dominated everything, except the household, which Rosalynn ran,” he said, adding that retrospectively he's shocked he didn’t consult her about his early job moves. Rosalynn Carter said her husband has been of immense support and helped her express herself better. “Over the years, we became not only friends and lovers but partners,” said Rosalynn, reported The Washington Post. “He has always thought I could do anything, and because of that, I/we have had some wonderful adventures and challenges.” He was also a champion of gender equality. he appointed record numbers of women to the federal bench, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who eventually served on the Supreme Court.
Rosalynn, who was initially a stay-at-home mom, played a huge role in the family business and Jimmy Carter's political career. “She was representing what was happening in the women’s movement at the time,” said Anita McBride, who served as Laura Bush’s chief of staff in the White House. “She had the support and respect of the president. He saw her as an equal.” She often attended Cabinet meetings, worked on mental health and other policies. She also formally created the Office of the First Lady, in the East Wing with its own chief of staff.