Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter mark their wedding anniversary. The two married July 7, 1946, when he was 21 and she was 18. Since then, they've built a family, having four sons and a daughter, Amy. They've lived in the Georgia governor's mansion and in the White House. And they've built hundreds of houses for needy families through Habitat for Humanity.

Happy 73rd anniversary, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter 

This year has been quite the roller-coaster ride for Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.

Up: In March, he earned the title of oldest living former president, passing George H.W. Bush.

Down: They each broke a hip, she in April; he in May, just three weeks later.

Up: In June, the former president was finally granted tenure at Emory Unversity after teaching there 37 years.

And the exciting loop: Sunday, the Carters celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary.

Rosalynn, Jimmy, and Lillian Carter at his Annapolis commissioning.
Photo: Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Sun-Times

On July 7, 1946, Jimmy Carter, 21, and Rosalynn Smith, 18, got married at Plains Methodist Church, in their hometown.

» Their 72nd anniversary

» A timeline: 10 of Jimmy Carter’s major accomplishments

Since then, they have lived in the Georgia Governor’s Mansion and the White House. 

U.S. President Jimmy Carter makes his inaugural speech after being sworn in on January 20, 1977 on the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol, (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

They founded the Carter Center in 1982, with a mission to advance peace and improve health worldwide.

In 1999, then-President Bill Clinton awarded Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have done more good things for more people in more places than any other couple on the face of the Earth,” Clinton said when presenting the medal.

Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."

She has been an advocate for mental health for 48 years, “and I plan to make it to 50," the former first lady said last year during the annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum.

The couple built a family — sons Jack, James and Donnel; and daughter Amy. And they built hundreds of houses for needy families through their work with Habitat for Humanity.

Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter at work on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, in Mishawaka, Indiana as part of Habitat’s Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

» Jimmy Carter: Man of the people

In 2015, the Carters faced the real possibility they would observe no anniversaries starting with a seven.

Doctors had discovered cancer in the former president’s liver and brain, he thought they might not reach that rare benchmark. 

“We thought life was over for me. I think that having been together for 69 years obviously made it easier for us to weather that storm of emotions,” Jimmy Carter said in 2016.

Now, they mark 73 years together — 73 years of accomplishments that might not have happened if he were not persistent. As Jimmy Carter tells it, his first marriage proposal was rejected.

But she eventually said yes, and the rest, quite literally, is history.

» Jimmy Carter bags a wild turkey at age 94

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