Too often, marriage gets a bad rap in American presidential politics. The second a political hopeful hints at a bid for the White House, their spouse or partner — or lack of a spouse or partner — immediately becomes the subject of public scrutiny. Does the couple really love each other? Can a "real" marriage survive the pressures of the country's highest political office? Well, doubters should look no further than President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn to see that real marriage can exist in politics. For nearly 70 years, the Carter marriage has consistently given us relationship goals.
Former President Carter held a press conference on Thursday to deliver details on his cancer diagnosis and his plans to start radiation treatments in Atlanta. He remained upbeat and positive during his press appearance, and said that he's "at ease with whatever comes" after being "blessed" throughout his life, including his happy, 69-year marriage to Rosalynn Carter. Still, that incredibly sweet moment is just one of many that the Carters have shared while in the public eye. Here are five times that Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter made us believe that deep commitment and love were still possible.
1. When He Said Rosalynn Needed Convincing Before Saying "I Do"
Carter told HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill that when he first proposed to Rosalynn, she wasn't immediately sold:
For months, I was a midshipman with the Naval Academy, up there [in Virginia] having lost my loved one, while she was dating all the other boys in Sumpter County [in Georgia]. And eventually, I think my white uniform prevailed.
2. When She Revealed Why Their Marriage Works
In an interview with Parade in 2013, Rosalynn Carter said that respect was the key ingredient in their long marriage:
I think space. He lets me do things I am interested in, and I let him do things he’s interested in. It all developed when we had the farm supply business and I was keeping the books. It wasn’t long before I knew more about the business than he did. So I could give him advice. We learned to respect each other.
3. When He Said That Love Is Love
Faith is important to Jimmy Carter, but as he told HuffPost Live this summer, that doesn't stop him from supporting others' rights to marry whomever they love:
I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don't see that gay marriage damages anyone else.
4. When They Shared A Cute Family Tradition
In one interview, the couple revealed a cute tradition borrowed from Jimmy Carter's parents, which they later passed down to their own children. Instead of saying "I love you," the Carter's and their children say "ILYTG," which is shorthand for "I love you the goodest."
5. When He Called Their Marriage The "Pinnacle" Of His Life
The latest touching public moment in the Carter marriage came during his press conference on Thursday, when reporters asked the former president to reflect on his legacy while in the White House and as a humanitarian. With a grin, Carter revealed his life's greatest accomplishment:
The best thing I ever did was marrying Rosa. That's the pinnacle of my life. We've been married 69 years and that's the best thing that's happened to me.