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Billy and Ruth Graham’s Marriage: A Lovely Legacy

On August, 13, 1943—exactly 75 years ago—Billy Graham and Ruth Bell said “I do.” Their faithful prayers, constant surrender to God’s will, and deep love led them to the altar. Decades later, even as Billy and Ruth rest in the Lord’s presence together in Heaven, their lives are a testimony of God’s plan for marriage.

Billy said that he was in love the moment he met Ruth at Wheaton College. After their first date, Ruth prayed “God, if you let me serve You with that man I’d consider it the greatest privilege my life.”

But Ruth was slow to make that prayer clear to Billy, and she was determined to be a missionary in China where she had grown up. Billy, however, was confident that Ruth would be his wife. “I let God do my courting for me,” he wrote in Just As I Am.

On July 6, 1941, Billy received a letter from Ruth declaring “I’ll marry you.” He quickly bought an engagement ring. A little over two years later, they were husband and wife, graduates of Wheaton College, and lifelong partners in ministry.

Billy and Ruth put God’s call above all else. As Billy traveled as a worldwide evangelist, Ruth had a mission field of her own at home. But they prayed and served together, and their love flourished and endured.

Ruth penned this poem, written in Footprints of a Pilgrim, after their wedding day:

… Only my ring seemed new—

its plain gold surface

warm and bright

and strange to me

that candlelight…

unworn—unmarred.

Could it be that wedding rings

like other things

are lovelier, when scarred?

Billy and Ruth’s wedding rings surely became worn during their many years together, but their love only deepened. Ruth’s poem proves true. Their marriage is a lovely legacy of devotion to God and lasting, biblical commitment to one another.

Read more from Ruth Bell Graham about her wedding ring.

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23 Comments

  1. Dawn "Lyrnn" Carter says:

    Love survives forevermore. Once endured, never forgotten. Once felt, always forgiven. Thanks be to God for our country’s family of faith will forever live within our hearts and the minds, hearts, bodies and souls to come forevermore. That is agape love and I miss Billy Graham daily. He brought Jesus to my heart, to my mind, to my soul, to my being. No matter what, I stop at all of His message.

    God Gracefully paired the union of love with these two and their families forevermore in our lives, in our hearts and in our soul to live forevermore in His grace. Thanks be to God for the ultimate, undeniable love with full glory.

  2. Ron Fulp says:

    Lovely couple now in Heaven! God bless you both. With love.

  3. Penny says:

    Thanks for sharing.
    With God’s Blessings to All!

  4. steven cohn says:

    Secular people without God seek marriage without allowing the One who is the Great Matchmaker to bring the man or woman into their lives. They end up marrying the wrong person and too many end in divorce. God is all-knowing and brings two people together in His omniscient will, if only people would allow Him to. I can vouch for this because I was the recipient of a wife when I was a missionary in Japan. But God had me visit another country to meet the one whom God appointed to be my bride. Some are called to remain single for the Kingdom, others wait a lifetime til God gives them a spouse. Trust Him to bring your appointed spouse to you. Be patient!

  5. Karin K. Anderson says:

    I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! This is their Legacy of Love. A love so pure and true…
    Led by Jesus Christ to say I do.

  6. Jonas Khauoe says:

    This is the marriage life I would like to emulate. I pray that God through His grace, He will enable me to internalize these principles in my life & new marriage in my new phase of life; to be an example to my children and other people, and to leave a lasting legacy when my new wife passes on to be with the Lord. Praise God in my first marriage with Betty, we impacted many lives and finished the course very well. To God alone be the glory.

  7. carmen Fuchser says:

    What a beautiful legacy of marriage. I can only hope and pray that my husband and I can have that too. We will be married 40 years next June.
    God bless this ministry.

  8. Tish Beals says:

    Oh, if only the youth of today could understand the purity of God’s plan for marriage. God bless Billy and Ruth for leaving a portrait of it for the world to see. Selah

  9. MARIE LEROY says:

    I have always admired these two as examples to follow as I believed everything they ever talked about from the beginning. I will follow their examples as long as I live. And I am not even their denomination I just believe them as always.

  10. Cindy Cowell says:

    I enjoyed the Billy Graham library last April when a friend and I visited. I look forward to coming back in the near future.

  11. Judy Walton says:

    Praise God for these 2 servants of the Lord

  12. Lisa Phillips says:

    My prayers are with all of you on this wonderful day ! What a beautiful love story of two devoted people faithfully serving our Lord Jesus during their lives.

  13. Sheila Hein says:

    What a great testimony of Rev Billy Graham and Ruth.

  14. Bonita T says:

    Was such a joy to read about their love and commitment to God first and each other next.

  15. Deborah Majors says:

    God bless the life of Ruth and Billy Graham. May they continue to be a beacon of light in this broken world. Praying for the continued work of BGEA

  16. Margaretann Rogers says:

    Thank you for sharing this about your Mom and Dad’s wedding. It is a beautiful remembrance of them as well.

  17. Linda Wallace says:

    A very special couple truly chosen by God and a lifetime inspiration for the world.

  18. Brice Covington says:

    What a great testimony

  19. Sarah Hall says:

    I love the poem and thanks for sharing it. We are so blessed that their testimony of a life lived for Jesus lives on. We visited their home back in June and could feel their spirits still there. The grave sight was so filled with the spirit of God and their presence were everywhere. Thank you so much we plan to come again and did not want to leave the day we had to come back to MS

  20. Ann Haskin says:

    Billy and Ruth have been a godly example for me. They lived what they believed. I have read many of their books and what a legacy they left for their family as well as the world of believers. They are in heaven together with the good Lord now. Such a beautiful picture of marriage. I thank God for them both and their families who are carrying on with the gospel.

  21. Annette Castles says:

    Great Commentary on a beautiful wedding: & Lasting Love that abides forever. Thank you

  22. David Kyalo Musyoka says:

    Billy Graham and Ruth Graham Blessed many of us! Their lives and Ministries continue to Bless us to date!

  23. Samuel Hagopian says:

    I am very happy for Mr and Mrs Graham’s marriage lasting as long as it did as well as being a very happy one.

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