Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrate 77th wedding anniversary

The longest-married first couple tied the knot on July 7, 1946, in Plains, Georgia

Former president Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn arrive for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a solar panel project in 2017. AP
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Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are marking their 77th wedding anniversary with a quiet Friday at their south Georgia home, extending their record as the longest-married first couple ever.

The 39th president is 98 and the former first lady is 95. They were married on July 7, 1946, in their hometown of Plains.

The couple essentially grew up together, their families close friends. After their marriage following Mr Carter's graduation from the US Naval Academy, the couple left Plains, but soon returned after they inherited the Carter family farm and warehouse business.

Over the years, the couple ran the business together and worked side by side to build Mr Carter's political career. Mrs Carter said her husband often took her advice on things with regard to the business, and Mr Carter described his wife as “much more political”.

Following Mr Carter's one term in office, the couple turned their focus to diplomatic and humanitarian concerns.

The Carters have been on the American and international stage together for a half-century, establishing the Carter Centre the year after the former president left the White House in 1981.

Through the centre, Jimmy Carter conducted several diplomatic missions, and the former president and centre employees have monitored at least 114 elections across Asia, Africa and the Americas since 1989, according to the Associated Press.

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Among their public health outreach efforts, the centre’s Guinea worm eradication programme has nearly conquered the water-born parasite once prevalent in the developing world. The centre has yet to document a case in 2023.

Mrs Carter, meanwhile, took her signature policy issue – mental health treatment and advocacy – beyond the White House and established an annual fellowship for journalists to concentrate on mental health reporting. She also advocated widely for better services for caregivers.

Beyond the Carter Centre, the couple became the most famous volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, the international outfit that builds, repairs and renovates homes for low-income people.

Beyond their longevity, both Carters credit their long marriage to open communication and their shared Christian faith.

“Every day there needs to be reconciliation,” the former president told AP in 2021. “We don’t go to sleep with some remaining differences between us.”

The Carter family has not offered details of the couple's medical conditions – the former president has been in hospice care since February and his wife has dementia – but have said they both have enjoyed time with each other and a stream of family members, along with occasional visits from close friends, in recent months.

“As we have looked back at their legacy, it has been really wonderful to see the outpouring of support and respect and love,” grandson Jason Carter said recently.

“That word love is really the one that defines certainly their personal relationship, but also the way they approach this world.”

The National visits the hometown of Jimmy Carter – video

The National visits the home town of Jimmy Carter

The National visits the home town of Jimmy Carter
Updated: July 07, 2023, 4:59 PM