Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
July 14, 2020 ·  2 min read

Longest-married presidential couple Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrate historic 74th anniversary

With a love story beautiful enough to make a movie out of, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter recently celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary, making them the longest-married presidential couple in history. This is their story of how they met, and most importantly, how they have kept the romance alive for so many years.

The Carters Become Longest-Married Presidential Couple in History

What is the secret to building a long-lasting relationship with your partner? The Carters certainly know the secret. At 94 and 92 years old, respectively, Jimmy and Rosalynn now officially hold the title for the longest-married presidential couple in American history, a title previously held by former president George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush.

Though the couple was married on July 7th, 1946 in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, their relationship began long before that. The pair have actually known each other their entire lives.

They were neighbors growing up, and Rosalynn was best friends with Jimmy’s sister, Ruth. According to Rosalynn, she first fell in love with Jimmy before she actually really knew him.

“I always said I fell in love with a photograph of him on (Ruth’s) bedroom wall,” Rosalynn explains. (1)

Jimmy says he fell in love with her on their very first date. 

“She was beautiful and innocent, and there was a resonance,” he recalls. “I kissed her on that first date. I remember that vividly,” (1)

He knew from that moment onward that she was the woman that he was meant to spend the rest of his life with. The pair were wed when Jimmy was 21 and Rosalynn was 18.

By their first anniversary, they already had their first son, Jack. Next, they had two more sons, Chip and Jeff. Fourteen years later, they had a daughter Amy. 

Unwavering Support

Rosalynn says that Jimmy was so encouraging to her, she felt brave enough to go after all of her goals and take risks. 

“Jimmy has always thought I could do anything. Always. And so I’ve done everything,” (1)

They have had a few health scares. Last year, Jimmy broke his hip. Back in 2015, Jimmy was diagnosed with cancer. After surgery and other treatments, he made a full recovery. He says the secret is marrying someone who won’t just take care of you, but also will engage you, introduce you to new things, and challenge you.

Faith is another big part of their relationship. They read the Bible together every night. If they are separated, they will read the same chapter. They also enjoy bird watching, skiing, and tennis together. 

Now that they are older, they savor every moment, big and small, together. The pair have worked on several projects together in an attempt to make the United States every a better place.