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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414 Comments

  1. KEN KORGES says:

    Lord in Heaven, Thank you for Billy Graham and all his Family. Bless them ~ Thank you for them. Amen.

  2. Judy A Williams- Muller says:

    Oh, what a Beautiful example of how GOD intended/intends for marriage to be. Beautiful, their longevity lifts me.

  3. Cindy Blain says:

    I will never meet Rev. Billy Graham here on earth, but I do know that we will meet in heaven. He has always been someone I have wanted to meet.

  4. Pastor John Thornhill says:

    From being a teenager, Billy Graham’s preaching ministry challenged my life and encouraged me a great deal as I came from an unhappy home. I loved the faithful simple and clear preaching which influenced me greatly. And Bev Shea’s singing was such a blessing and grew a love in my life for Gospel songs.
    I heard Billy preach personally when he came to western Australia and Bev Shea sang. What a blessing and learning time. I was counseling when the appeal was given. I have followed both their lives through the years and thank God for them.

  5. Kwappe Oscar says:

    am humbled to have such a strong bond of a family to look as i too embark on my journey as a minister of God to the whole world. Thank you Billy and Ruth Graham for listening to God coz that has helped many to stay firm in God…….God bless you both in blessing

  6. ROSA M AREVALO ROBALINO says:

    ES UN HOMBRE DE DIOS EXTRAORDINARIO SUS MENSAJES LLEGAN DIRECTAMENTE AL CORAZÒN DIOS LE HA DADO UNA EXELENTE ESPOSA, SE QUE ELLA PARTIÓ A LAS CALLE DE ORO MAR DE CRISTAL, COMO DIOS HABLA EN SU PALABRAES MUY ADMIRABLE BUEN SIERVO MUY OBEDIENTE AL SEÑOR JESUCRISTO, QUE DIOS LO BENDIGA Y A SUS HIJOS TAMBIÉN

  7. Kumb Obe says:

    This is an inspiring story for we the young preachers of nowadays. Ministry without a strong family life is impossible.

  8. Bonnie says:

    Enjoy hearing Billy Graham speak

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