Joe and Jill Biden have been married for a whopping 43 years, and to hear them talk about it, that’s no accident. When Joe lost his first wife Neilia and baby daughter Naomi in a 1972 car crash, he devoted himself fully to being a dad to young Hunter and Beau who had survived the crash, first encountering Jill three years later through a blind date set up by his brother. Though they started seeing each other in 1975, they didn’t marry until 1977, and Joe famously had to propose five times before Jill accepted, wary of making any promises she couldn’t keep to Joe or his sons, whom she’d grown to love as her family. In their first White House interview, it’s exactly this measured, prudent response that bears out when Joe and Jill talk about the success of their marriage, reminding us that — for all their fame and fanfare — their relationship works because they approach it with the same conscientiousness as they do everything else.
Asked by People why their partnership works so well, both Joe and Jill were quick to cite outside data on relationships that they apply to their own marriage.
President Biden: She has a backbone like a ramrod. Everybody says marriage is 50/50. Well, sometimes you have to be 70/30. Thank God that when I’m really down, she steps in, and when she’s really down, I’m able to step in. We’ve been really supportive of one another.
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) October 3, 2020
“I’ve read all that data as well about families under pressure, and that’s why I’m glad she kept her profession,” Joe said, referring to Jill’s career as an English professor. “It’s really important that she’s an educator, although she took off two years when we first got married because the boys were little. It’s important that she has the things that she cares a great deal about, her independence. And yet we share each other’s dreams.”
“There’s that quote that says sometimes you become stronger in the fractured places,” Jill adds. “That’s what we try to achieve.”
See, Joe didn’t just encourage his wife to keep her profession because he loves her and knows it’s important to her; it’s also because the data says it works when it comes to providing a marriage. And Jill doesn’t let herself dwell on arguments because she’s a more highly-evolved being who never gets annoyed; it’s because she knows there is a potential for healing from this quote and its contextual meaning to her.
None of this is to say that the Bidens aren’t genuine in their affection for one another. Clearly, they adore one another and the life they’ve built, and it’s made all the more charming by learning how intentional they’ve been along the way.
“Jill came along at a really important point and put my family back together,” Joe says. “She’s the glue that held it together, and I knew that I wanted to marry her shortly after I met her.”
After all that Joe had already been through, is it any wonder that he’d take as much care as he possibly could in his marriage?