Jimmy Carter turned 98 on October 1, 2022, and spent the day with his wife, Rosalynn Carter, of 76 years.
The couple once beat the marriage record for their long-lasting union.
The former President and First Lady of the United States chose an old two-bedroom ranch to retire in even though they could’ve lived in a chic home.
Although they’re still together and very much in love, the pair have experienced hard times that almost led to divorce, but their love was more potent.
On October 1, 2022, former United States (US) President Jimmy Carter reached a considerable milestone; he turned 98! The former leader spent the day with his longtime wife, Rosalynn Carter.
In a 2019 People magazine article, Jimmy revealed that during quiet moments, like birthdays, he and his wife preferred to be home. The couple, who have been inseparable since the early 1940s, usually spend the day entirely alone.
The former politician said in the past that they would enjoy a quiet day with visitors not welcome to their home. He revealed they would isolate themselves and not receive emails and minor calls.
Jimmy credited his wife for being the primary source of his life energy. Rosalynn’s husband told the publication that he’d lived so long because he’d married “the best spouse” who took care of him and did things that challenged him.
Former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter on Easter Sunday at Maranatha Baptist Church on April 20, 2014, in Plains, Georgia | Source: Getty Images
He believed he’d married a woman who kept him alive and invested in life. Although he spent his day relaxing and peaceful, he and his wife usually led busy lives on their small ranch, just like in their youth.
It Was Love at First Sight for Jimmy, but Rosalynn Took Some Time to Warm Up to Him
Before Rosalynn became Mrs. Carter, she was Rosalynn Smith. As a young girl, she’d believed she’d grow up to “be an old maid,” and when boys tried to see her at her Plains, Georgia home, she’d ignore them.
In the book “What Makes a Marriage Last,” Jimmy’s future wife told her mother to say she wasn’t home when she answered the boys’ phone calls. The future First Lady explained that she didn’t know any boy she’d want to spend her life with at the time.
Jimmy recalled how timid Rosalynn was back then, and although she wasn’t interested in other boys, she was keen on him. The book claimed she said she fell in love with his photo, which was on her bedroom wall, however,
“My mother said it must have been his white uniform, but I don’t know.”
Back then, everyone in Plains knew everyone else, but Rosalynn was closer to Jimmy’s family than others. Her best friend happened to be his sister, Ruth Carter, so she spent a lot of time at the Carter home, although Jimmy was never around.
Rosalynn was three years younger than him and first started to notice him at age 13. However, because of their age difference, a relationship was impossible, but when she was 18, Jimmy returned to their hometown from Annapolis, Maryland’s Naval Academy.
During his month-long break, Rosalynn and Ruth planned how they get the former together with Jimmy. Ruth would call her friend when her brother was around, and the future Carter wife would rush over, but by the time she’d arrived, he was gone!
The reason was that Jimmy had many girlfriends as a younger man and even dated Miss Georgia Southwestern State while at the academy. However, during the last night of one of his breaks, he was without a date because his girlfriend was at a family reunion.
He drove around with Ruth and her boyfriend looking for a date, picked Rosalynn up from the church, and invited her to the movies. In the book, Jimmy said he felt “compatible” with the future First Lady because she was both innocent and beautiful.
During that first date, the future US President kissed Rosalynn, and the following morning he confessed to his mother, “Rosalynn was the one I wanted to marry.” On President’s Day, Jimmy proposed while Rosalynn joined him and his parents on an Annapolis trip.
President Jimmy Carter and his extended family, Judy (Mrs. Jack Carter); Jason James Carter; Jack Carter; Annette Carter; Jeff Carter; First Lady Rosalynn Carter; Amy Lynn Carter; President Jimmy Carter; Caron Griffin Carter holding James Earl Carter IV; and Chip Carter III in 1977 | Source: Getty Images
At first, Rosalynn declined as she was focused on her education because she’d promised her father to attend a four-year college. However, about three months later, she agreed, and the couple tied the knot on July 7, 1946.
During their first wedding anniversary, Jimmy’s wife was at a hospital giving birth to their first child, Jack Carter. The couple welcomed three more children, Chip, Jeff, and one daughter, Amy.
The early years of their marriage with only Jack saw them traveling around the nation because of Jimmy’s military postings, and things weren’t always easy. His wife had to take the child with her to get groceries using a bus.
Upon arriving home, she had to leave the groceries on a street corner, rush to take the child home, and then return to get her packages. In the 1970s, Jimmy said, “Rosalynn’s my secret weapon,” while on the presidential trial.
The couple also clashed and had disagreements, but they figured out the formula on how to settle this. In the book, Jimmy said they discovered long ago that disagreements were a part of life for “two strong-willed people,” adding:
“But we decided early on to give each other plenty of space.”
The couple also struggled to work together when they wrote their joint book, which was the “closest” they got to divorce. Rosalynn confessed that it was an awful experience, but they got through it.
During 2021’s PBS News Hour interview with the couple, the former President revealed how they worked through the troubles. He shared that they always reconciled before going to sleep.