The epitome of a successful relationship is that of a harmonious, long-term marriage, which suggests that the masculine and feminine energies are balanced within each person and as a couple. Such is the case of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who have been married for over seventy years. In a 2016 interview by Lynn Okura Bey on OWN, the former president said he knew Rosalynn was the girl he was going to marry after their first date.
Several habits help them maintain their balance: Early on in their connection, they decided to give each other plenty of space—each having their own ideas, ambitions, and goals. Every night before they go to bed they try to resolve their inevitable and fairly frequent differences. And they make time for doing things together that they’ve never done before—such as downhill skiing, which they did in their early sixties.
The Carters now enjoy a modest lifestyle in Plains, Georgia—the town where each was born. Jimmy’s income results from writing numerous books about his life, career, his faith, women’s rights, Middle East peace, fishing, and woodworking. Every other Sunday morning he teaches Sunday school at the local Baptist Church. Rosalynn practices tai chi and meditates in the mornings. This couple shares the chores—cooking, doing dishes, and other tasks. They walk together every day.
Rosalynn created and served as the chair of the Carter Center for Mental Health Task Force, an advisory board of experts. She hosts the annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy—bringing together nationwide leaders in the mental health field. In 1984, she became an Honorary Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
The success of Jimmy and Rosalynn's partnership results from:
This is inspirational, as so many marriages fail (including my own, many years ago) due to the inability to embrace and apply such guiding principles. Whether you are in a long-term partnership/marriage or not, and regardless of whatever age you may be, the above commitments to self and other can help any relationship to flourish and have an enriching effect on our lives. On which points do you feel you have a handle, and what might you still need to work on? Comments are most appreciated!