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The secret to Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's 75-year-long marriage

From the peanut farm to the White House, the Carters take a look back at how their "partnership" has made their marriage last.
The Carters, seen here in a 1966 photo, celebrate their wedding anniversary Wednesday.
The Carters, seen here in a 1966 photo, celebrate their wedding anniversary Wednesday.Horace Cort / AP
/ Source: TODAY

On the eve of their 75th wedding anniversary, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have opened up in a rare interview about their marriage and the sweet gestures they do for each other that keep their bond stronger than ever.

The former president, 96, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his love for Rosalynn, 93, has only increased after the three-quarters of a century they've spent as husband and wife.

"We have grown closer to each other. We’ve learned from each other. And we have learned to accommodate each other’s idiosyncrasies," Jimmy Carter said. "And we’ve learned how to give each other plenty of space. We can each do our own thing and the other one absent."

The former first lady, whose husband calls her "sweetheart" and "beautiful," said it's the little things that make her fall even more in love with her husband.

"Jimmy is really kind and he will hold out his hand, take my hand when we are walking down the street or sitting in the car. Squeeze my hand. Those kinds of things draw me closer to him," she said.

Jimmy Carter has shown his romantic side in the past. In his 1995 book, "Always a Reckoning," he included a poem called "Rosalynn" that he penned in honor of his wife.

"With shyness gone and hair caressed with gray, her smile still makes the birds forget to sing and me to hear their song," he wrote.

In October 2019, the Carters surpassed the record set by the late George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, for the longest-married presidential couple at 26,765 days, according to a post from the Carter Center.

The former Rosalynn Smith became friends with Jimmy Carter's younger sister, and recalled how she first fell in love with him by frequently seeing his photo at the Carter house while he was away at the Naval Academy.

The pair eventually dated; however, the future first lady actually rejected the first proposal, according to her memoir "First Lady From Plains." This was due to a promise she made to her father, who died when she was 13 years old, that she would finish college before marrying.

Ever since they tied the knot on July 7, 1946, the couple have approached their marriage as a partnership, whether it was on their Georgia peanut farm, campaigning for the presidency, serving the American people and later in their humanitarian work through the Carter Center.

"I think our partnership started before (his presidency) when I was keeping books at our farm supply business. It was not too long before I got to know more about the business on paper than he knew about it and I could advise him. For instance, once we started doing peanuts and cotton and we started shelling corn, I realized from the books that we were not making any money. That we were losing money. I could advise him," Rosalynn Carter said. "So that is how I think our partnership developed. That was the beginning of it."

While the Carters are still madly in love, they also wanted people to know that they have the occasional argument, just like many married couples. They said most of their arguments these days come when Jimmy Carter forgets his wife has her hearing aids in and he talks too loudly to her.

The former president offered sage advice for how they move past the rough spots.

"We try to forgive each other every night for any differences we may have had during the day. We try to read the Bible every day. Most of the time late in the evening," he said. "And we try to reconcile and never go to sleep with any lingering argument."