This year marks the 79th anniversary of Billy and Ruth Graham’s wedding on Aug. 13, 1943. Billy fondly remembers his wedding day in his autobiography, Just As I Am:
“Ruth’s parents had moved from Virginia to a house on the Presbyterian conference grounds at Montreat, North Carolina, just east of Asheville. We were married there in August, on the night of Friday the thirteenth, with a full moon in the sky. In Gaither Chapel at eight-thirty in the evening, amid candles and clematis, my beloved Florida mentor, Dr. John Minder, pronounced us husband and wife. Dr. Kerr Taylor, close friend of the Bells and former missionary to China, assisted him in the ceremony. Sophie Graham (no relation), a missionary from Haichow, China, played the piano and accompanied Roy Gustafson in two solos before the ceremony. Andrew Yang from Chinkiang, China, sang two solos during the service. All the details took up two columns on the social-news page of the Asheville paper; that was because Dr. Bell was well known in the area. It was the most remarkable day of my life.”
Billy and Ruth Graham went on to spend many happy years together, raising five children, and obediently sharing the Gospel around the world. They would spend more than 63 years together as husband and wife before Ruth Graham passed away in June 2007.
For their 60th wedding anniversary, Ruth gave her husband a Bible in celebration of that milestone. She inscribed on its title page: “Presented to My Husband, Billy Graham by Ruth. Thanking you for sixty special, happy years together and with five great kids! Aug. 13, 2003.”
Ruth Bell Graham’s gift to her husband certainly represents the centrality of Scripture in their lives. As Billy Graham once said, “A marriage is between three people… a man, a woman, and God.”
When once asked if “marriage is on the way out” in modern society, Billy Graham had this to say: “A good marriage isn’t a question of physical attraction or compatible personalities. These have their place, but most of all a good marriage is based on commitment—commitment to each other, and commitment to God. Emotions come and go; physical attraction fades; differences can flare into anger and conflict. But when we know Christ, we know that true love involves a commitment to do what is best for the other person. It’s an act of the will—and a gift from God. Thank God every day for His grace in your lives—and for hope that extends beyond the grave.”