Curt Flewelling, FISM News
You would think that a former leader of the free world would have accomplished some pretty significant things during their lifetime. This is true of former President Jimmy Carter, whose pedigree includes being a distinguished Naval Academy graduate, successful businessman, president of the United States, and Nobel Peace Prize winner. You may be surprised to hear, however, what he considers to be his greatest accomplishment.
When asked this question throughout the years, Carter has consistently given the same response: “The best thing I ever did was marrying Rosalynn. That’s the pinnacle of my life.”
On July 7, the Carters quietly celebrated an unfathomable 76 years of marriage, with a special meal followed by lots of ice cream! A far cry from the pomp and circumstance that surrounded last year’s 75th anniversary, which was attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Garth Brooks, and Ted Turner.
The Carters’ remarkable achievement is all the more impressive given the fact that the average length of a marriage in the United States is seven to eight years. The longevity of their union is so rare that the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t even keep statistics on how many couples stay together that long, as only 6% of married couples even make it to 50 years.
When asked about the secret to staying together for 76 years, President Carter does not hesitate to give the following advice: “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. And we try to reconcile and never go to sleep with any lingering argument.”
The last piece of advice is a clear reference to Ephesians 4:26 – “In your anger do not sin: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” No doubt a lesson he taught countless times over his 40 years as a Sunday school teacher at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.
Mrs. Carter cites the fact that she and her husband try very hard to find things to do together as a key to their enduring relationship. She says they have always done that, recalling fly fishing and bird watching as examples.
The Carters’ marriage has become the longest of any presidential couple. Although noteworthy, the milestone that they have achieved clearly transcends politics as people of all political persuasions have lauded their heartwarming love story as something beautiful and momentous.