The former president and first lady celebrated 74 years of marriage on Tuesday, after tying the knot on July 7, 1946, in Plains, Georgia, at the age of 21 and 18 respectively.
Editor's note: We are re-sharing some of the best moments and most important stories of 2020. Although it was a difficult year for nearly all of us, there were also shining moments of light and signs of hope. This was one of them.
President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn Carter just marked another year of marriage beating their own record of being the longest-married presidential couple. The former president and first lady celebrated 74 years of marriage on Tuesday, after tying the knot on July 7, 1946, in Plains, Georgia, at the age of 21 and 18 respectively, reports AJC. Their longstanding romance survived all the trials and tribulations life through their way as they journeyed from Plains to Georgia’s Governor’s Mansion to the White House and in the time since. Even today, after over seven decades of togetherness, the Carters are the very picture of matrimonial bliss.
Today, our founder, Rosalynn Carter, celebrates 74 years of marriage to President Jimmy Carter. Individually, they have championed peace, health care, the environment, and more. Together, they have served as a shining example of how to care for and serve others. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/qcbftgw5iy— RCI Caregiving (@RCICaregiving) July 7, 2020
According to PEOPLE, Carter and Rosalynn became the longest-married presidential couple last October when they broke the previous record set by former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. The Bushes were married 73 years and 111 days at the time of the former first lady’s death in 2018. President Carter—who is now 95 years old and the oldest-living president in US history—and Mrs. Carter's love story began in 1945 when he asked her to go to the movies with him while he was home on leave from the US Naval Academy.
Happy 74th anniversary to former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter! Dancing the night away at the Inaugural Ball, January 20, 1977. https://t.co/9RPNGnn0Yf @CarterLibrary @CarterCenter pic.twitter.com/4z4c98e6ho— Matthew Costello (@WHhistorianCost) July 7, 2020
Rosalynn, who was a frequent playmate of Carter's younger sister growing up, left quite an impression on him during their first date. "I just felt compatible with her," the former president recalled in Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas' book What Makes a Marriage Last. "She was beautiful and innocent, and there was a resonance. We rode in the rumble seat of a Ford pickup—Ruth and her boyfriend in the front—and I kissed her on that first date. I remember that vividly."
Wow, 74 years! Happy Anniversary, President Jimmy and First Lady Rosalyn Carter!— Robin H Patton (@rbnsnest) July 7, 2020
Photos: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrate 74th anniversary. A look through the years. https://t.co/fBVL73kqHb via @owhnews
He also recalled their first date fondly in his 2015 autobiography A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, writing: "She was remarkably beautiful, almost painfully shy, obviously intelligent, and yet unrestrained in our discussion on the rumble seat of the Ford Coupe." When his mother asked him what he thought of Rosalynn the next day, he is said to have told her that "she's the one I’m going to marry." The couple welcomed their first child together, Jack, in their first year of marriage, followed by sons Chip and Jeff, and after a 14-year gap, daughter Amy.
We love this passage from Rosalynn Carter’s autobiography. A whirlwind day to start a lifetime of love, friendship, support, and accomplishment. 2/3 pic.twitter.com/iGfVXeJSkq— RCI Caregiving (@RCICaregiving) July 7, 2020
Rosalynn almost immediately distinguished herself as a proficient and influential figure in her own right when her husband began his political career, choosing not to be sidelined as just a presidential candidate's spouse. "If Rosalynn okays you, you're in," a source told PEOPLE in 1976 after the couple was swept by victory into the Oval Office. "If she doesn't, you're dead." Carter himself called Rosalynn his "secret weapon" while on the presidential trail in the '70s. "Jimmy has always thought I could do anything. Always. And so I’ve done everything," the former first lady said in What Makes a Marriage Last. "I campaigned all over the country. I've done things I never dreamed I could do."
Happy 74th wedding anniversary to President and Mrs. Carter! You inspire us every day, and we are so grateful for your wonderful example. pic.twitter.com/NatRQiKNTj— Habitat_org (@Habitat_org) July 7, 2020
However, she took her husband's overwhelming loss to Ronald Reagan in 1980 particularly hard. President Carter told Donahue and Thomas in their book this year: "I searched for good things about not being reelected, to ease her pain. I was just fifty-six years old, I told her, and she was just fifty-three, so we had at least twenty-five years of life ahead of us. That’s when the Carter Center was born. It has been a wonderful challenge."
Jimmy was immediately smitten after their first date, telling his mother that he had met his future wife — and the couple tied the knot on this day in 1946. https://t.co/g6Xl0ycInX— Biography.com (@biography) July 7, 2020
Speaking to PEOPLE last year about still being active public figures, Carter credited his wife once again for keeping him going at 95. "It’s hard to live until you’re 95 years old. 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," he said, adding that they "have had a good life together." Here's wishing the former President and first lady a very happy anniversary.