Billy and Ruth Graham Through the Years

By   •   June 14, 2017

Billy Graham and Ruth McCue Bell were married on Aug. 13, 1943. Ruth once remembered seeing a young Billy Graham go flying past her during her sophomore year at Wheaton College. After hearing him pray during a prayer meeting, she thought, "There is a man who knows to Whom he is speaking."
As newlyweds, the Grahams enjoyed walking to the church Billy Graham pastored in Western Springs, Illinois.
Shortly after getting married, Billy Graham brought his new bride home to his father's dairy farm to meet the rest of the family. Standing left to right: brother Melvin, Billy Graham, Sam McElroy (Catherine’s husband). Seated: Ruth Bell Graham, Billy’s father William Franklin Graham Sr., Billy's sister Jean, Billy’s mother Morrow, and sister Catherine.
Saying goodbye was all too common for Billy and Ruth Graham as his ministry took him all over the globe. Billy Graham recalled, “Many a time, I’ve driven down that driveway with tears coming down my cheeks, not wanting to leave.”
Ruth Graham sometimes shared in her husband's travels. In 1976, she accompanied him to Guatemala, where a 7.5 earthquake killed 12,000 and rendered a million people homeless. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association chartered jets to deliver food and medical supplies.
Franklin Graham once said, "I guess one thing that has always impressed me over the years has been the humility of my parents and their deep integrity. They were always careful not to do anything that would hinder the Gospel."
Billy Graham considered his wife his greatest spiritual adviser. “When it comes to spiritual things, my wife has had the greatest influence on my ministry,” he said. Here, Ruth speaks during the 1972 Cleveland, Ohio, Crusade.
Spending time at home was always important for the Grahams. The mantel behind Billy and Ruth Graham bears a German inscription that reads, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Their home was dedicated to God, and this phrase was a powerful reminder.
"I cannot keep up with the man," Ruth Bell Graham once said. "In fact, taking me on a Crusade is rather like a general taking his wife to battle with him. Our happiest times together are at home or on vacation."
Ruth Bell Graham, the daughter of a missionary surgeon, spent the first 17 years of her life in China. During a 1988 trip to China, Ruth showed her husband where she grew up. This photo was taken in an alcove in the home she grew up in.
Quiet moments were rare so the Grahams cherished their time together at home.
Ruth Bell Graham proudly smiling as Billy Graham received the 1982 Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion at Buckingham Palace.
Anne Graham Lotz once said, "They set the tone for our lives by the way they lived theirs. Their depending on God was obvious—Mother's light would be on late at night and early in the morning as she studied her Bible and prayed. And Daddy, even though the world acclaimed him as a great man and so many sought him for advice, would still get on his knees and humbly ask the Lord for His guidance. Through all of this, we learned that seeking God was not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength."
"Without Ruth's partnership and encouragement over the years, my own work would have been impossible," Billy Graham said. "We were called by God as a team."
"Your attitude to God, your husband and your family must create an atmosphere of love, appreciation and encouragement which every family needs," Ruth Bell Graham once said.
Billy and Ruth Graham celebrated 50 years of marriage in 1993, and Ruth tried on the handmade dress she wore as a young bride.
“Ruth and I don’t have a perfect marriage," Billy Graham once said. "But we have a great one." Mrs. Graham went to be with the Lord on June 14, 2007, after more than 63 years of marriage.

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  1. Yvonne says:

    Happy birthday, Billy!!!

  2. Brenda says:

    I really liked the movie that was dedicated to you both. You have inspired me to love God so much! Thank you.

  3. Oluwayomi says:

    You cannot be tired reading about Billy Graham and watching his videos. Happy birthday at 99, Billy. You have impacted my life beyond imagination. By the way, I was born on November 9 and I am proud to share November with you, a man of destiny. Your God, our God, will strengthen you in these latter years. Cheers and congratulations!

  4. Kabuye hazlam says:

    All of Billy Graham’s life inspires me from the ministry to love life.

  5. Marsha D. Carreker says:

    WOW!!! I was really impacted by the love the Grahams have for God! I love the Grahams. What an AWESOME marriage!

  6. Joyce Spedding says:

    Your love and dedication to the Lord is a great inspiration to me and reminds me to keep going.

  7. Obeth Jebakumar says:

    I admire this great man of God, Dr. Billy Graham. I love to read all his books. I love to read Decision Magazine, especially the ones that were printed in the 60s and 70s. I watch all his Crusade videos and admire the way he preaches and the Lord always speaks to me through all the sermons of this great man, Dr. Billy Graham. My desire is that one day I will get a chance to meet him and visit the BGEA headquarters in the U.S. – OBETH, India

  8. Jay Price says:

    Your life and your calling is an inspiration to anyone who loves the Lord. Bless you for the race you have run!

  9. VANLAL THLANA says:

    I’d be very happy to be one of your far off friends receiving news about BGEA’s ministry through email. Thank you so much.

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