When I read that Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrated 75 years of marriage, I broke out in cold sweats. Could I ever top that? Many people wondered, "How did they do it?" Others wondered, "Why did they do it? They make it look easy in an age when young people think there should be an expiration date on marriage. As the longest-married presidential couple, I'm sure they'll be memorialized in the Guinness Book of Records - along with Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was probably married just as long but with nine husbands. I asked my wife Sandy if there was any hope we'd celebrate 75 years of marital bliss, and she said, "You'll have to celebrate it with someone else." Marital bliss is vastly overrated anyway. More people are living past 100, so anything is possible. My father-in-law always told me the first 100 years are the hardest, but I never realized he was referring to marriage. When I was in church recently, a couple renewed their marriage vows on their 61st anniversary. When you renew your vows, there's no turning back, regardless of how bumpy the road ahead may look. When my friend's grandparents marked 60-something years together, she asked what their secret to "success" was, and without premeditation, the old guy grumbled, "Giving in." That's an alien concept in our society, where everyone is convinced they're right, and they'll bludgeon anyone who disagrees. I asked another couple who reached 60 years how they did it, and the groom told me, "A day at a time, and some of those days can be painful." Marriage is like sobriety, he explained. Just for today. From personal experience, I can testify marriage is work, and you don't get paid overtime. That's one of the few things my spouse and I agree on. Why didn't anyone tell us when we were starry-eyed newlyweds that it would be hard? Jimmy, 96, and Rosalynn, 93, said the secret is to marry the right person and make sure your marriage is a "full partnership." "Every day there needs to be reconciliation and communication between two spouses ...We don't go to sleep with some remaining differences between us," he said. And every night they read the Bible together. However, there was that time during the 1976 presidential campaign when he was interviewed by Playboy and confessed, "I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times." Telling the truth proved disastrous for him. The crazy thing is that the president who confessed to committing adultery "in his heart" got pummeled more by the media than presidents who committed adultery in the flesh. The most profound marriage advice I ever heard was read by the priest at my daughters' weddings. Titled "Exhortation Before Marriage," it said in part: "You are about to enter upon a union which is most sacred and most serious. It will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate, that it will profoundly influence your whole future. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. These elements are mingled in every life, and are to be expected in your own. And so not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death. ..." Then came the "secret to success": "It is most fitting that you rest the security of your wedded life upon the great principle of self-sacrifice. And whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this mutual life, always make them generously. Sacrifice is usually difficult and irksome. Only love can make it easy, and perfect love can make it a joy. We are willing to give in proportion as we love. And when love is perfect, the sacrifice is complete. ... "May, then, this love with which you join your hands and hearts today never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go on. And if true love and the unselfish spirit of perfect sacrifice guide your every action, you can expect the greatest measure of earthly happiness that may be allotted to us in this vale of tears. The rest is in the hands of God." Here's wishing 75 years, a day at a time, to newlyweds everywhere. And happy anniversary to Jimmy and Rosalynn. Joe Pisani can be reached at email@example.com.