Jimmy, Rosalynn Carter look back at 75 years of marriage: 'It's a full partnership'

Jimmy Carter Rosalynn Carter
President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn lead their guests in dancing at the annual Congressional Christmas Ball at the White House on December 13, 1978. AP Photo/Ira Schwarz, File

On July 7, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary, where they will reflect on a remarkable life has taken them from rural Georgia and locales across the globe as a Naval family to the Governor's Mansion and ultimately the White House.

Despite the whirlwind of their nearly eight decade long marriage, some things remain the same.

Former President Carter, 96, and the former first lady, 93, still live in Plains, the small southwestern Georgia city where they were both born. And they often give each other the kind of loving gaze that so many spend years trying to find.

"It's a full partnership," the 39th president told The Associated Press during a joint interview ahead of the couple's anniversary date.

When Carter was a young midshipman in the US Naval Academy, spending some time at home from the venerable institution, a first date with Rosalynn set the spark that blossomed into a lifetime of memories.

In his interview, Carter said that the most important decision that he's ever made wasn't as the leader of the free world or even as the executive officer of a nuclear submarine early in the Cold War - it was his courtship of Eleanor Rosalynn Smith, which began in 1945 and led to their marriage the next year.

"My biggest secret is to marry the right person if you want to have a long-lasting marriage," the former president told The Associated Press.

The Carters
Former President Jimmy Carter, right, and his wife Rosalynn arrive for a ribbon cutting ceremony for a solar panel project on farmland he owns in their hometown of Plains, Georgia. AP Photo/David Goldman, File

The first couple offered advice in how to maintain a lasting bond.

"Every day there needs to be reconciliation and communication between the two spouses," the former president said, explaining that the deeply religious couple reads the Bible together each night. "We don't go to sleep with some remaining differences between us."

Rosalynn Carter said that finding common interests is key - with some boundaries in mind.

"Jimmy and I are always looking for things to do together," she told The Associated Press. "Each (person) should have some space. That's really important."

During her days in the White House, the former first lady was a reliable support system for her husband, while also engaging in her own causes, which included health care and mental health awareness.

The couple plans to mark their milestone a few days after the anniversary with a party in their hometown.

Rosalynn Carter joked about the size of the crowd that was slated to attend the event.

"We have too many people invited," she said laughingly. "I'm actually praying for some turndowns and regrets."

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