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Bidens share the key to their 43 years of marriage: 'When somebody's down, the other steps in'

President Biden revealed that he gets his wife a corsage for "every single special occasion."

Bidens share the key to their 43 years of marriage: 'When somebody's down, the other steps in'
Cover Image Source: Getty Images/ Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden on the fourth night of the Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center on August 20, last year, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Win McNamee)

Amid everything that was unprecedented and newsworthy about President Joe Biden's inauguration, a small but heartwarming detail towards the end of the day went unnoticed by most of us. As the first couple watched the stunning firework display from the Truman Balcony that evening, Dr. Jill Biden — the former second lady and brand-new first lady of the United States of America — sported a corsage of gardenias on her wrist. The few netizens who spotted the delicate, old-fashioned, and incredibly romantic detail, were left swooning over the Bidens' famously wholesome relationship.

 



 

 



 

 



 

 

Now, in their first White House interview about the highs and lows of their journey, the president and first lady opened up about the story behind the corsage. "He surprised me with it. It's a tradition," Dr. Biden, a community college English professor, told PEOPLE. "I don't know when it started — a long, long time ago. I think it was for Valentine's Day. I love gardenias and so Joe would buy me a wrist corsage of gardenias. I wore it to school to teach!" Adding to what his beloved spouse shared, President Biden explained why he has made it a point to keep up the romantic tradition all these years.

 



 

 

 



 

 

He gets his wife of 43 years a corsage for "every single special occasion," he revealed. "It's important to, and Jill does the same thing, let each other know that, no matter how much time goes by... she goes down the steps and—" Here, the 78-year-old, his hand over his heart, tapping, and said: "It still goes a little boom, boom, boom, boom. For real." While President Biden describes his marriage to Dr. Biden as "a great love affair," the couple's relationship hasn't always been the typical rom-com filled with flower petals and fluttering heartstrings.

 



 

 

In fact, Jill (née Jacobs) came into Biden's life just a few years after he lost his first wife, Neilia, and their baby daughter, Naomi, in a car wreck and became a grieving single dad to his two young sons, Beau and Hunter. "Jill came along at a really important point and put my family back together," he said of the impact she has had on his life. "She's the glue that held it together." The couple went on to tie the knot in an intimate ceremony with just around 40 close friends and family in June 1977 and grew their family by giving Beau and Hunter a sister, Ashley, in 1981.

 



 

 

 



 

 

Together, they weathered the ups and downs of Biden's 36 years in the Senate, two failed presidential campaigns, and the heartbreak of losing their son Beau to brain cancer at age 46 in 2015. "I've read all that data about families under pressure," President Biden said. "I know everybody says marriage is a 50/50. Well, that's not true. Sometimes you have to be 70/30. Sometimes when somebody's down, the other one steps in. And the good news for us has been — thank God — that when I'm really down, she steps in. And when she's really down, I'm able to step in. And we've been really supportive of one another."

 



 

 

 

"With all that we've been through together as a couple — you know, the highs, the lows and certainly tragedy and loss — there's that quote that says, 'Sometimes you become stronger in the fractured places.' Over time, that's what we try to achieve," the first lady added. While President Biden agrees that their relationship has grown stronger over the years, he revealed that they aren't always the perfect couple we've come to admire. "It's not that we don't fight and argue sometimes," he said. "I don't know, I just think I'm just lucky." Dr. Biden chimed in with a laugh: "Well, after 43 years of marriage, there's really not that much more to fight about."

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