My husband and I have been married for 5.5 years. We actually just celebrated our anniversary- of his proposal of marriage- on December 29th 2011. (P.S. does anyone else celebrate engagement anniversaries?…I believe in celebrating all of those smaller anniversaries as a reminder of your love and commitment for each other.)
We want to be married for an inordinate number of years… maybe 70? I feel that in 65 years we might be some of the only ones that will have been married that long. We got married young- at 21 and 24, so that is possible, perhaps through God’s grace! Sometimes I wonder if we will make it!
Marriage is a picture of God’s love for us. And it takes work. It’s the kind of work that we need to do as Christians. We need to let the world see that we are different in how we approach marriage. We need the world to see that we are 100% committed to our spouses, especially through the hard times. That we can forgive our spouses and choose to love our spouses on a daily basis.
I think this is especially true for pastor’s wives like me.
As a pastor’s wife, I see lots of examples of ministry wives. I see good examples, and I also see bad examples. Billy Graham had a strong ministry, but he also had a strong marriage. Maybe that’s why he did so well! 😉
The Love Story
Have you ever heard the story of how Ruth Graham and Billy met? OH I LOVE IT. One of my most respected ministry wives of all time is Ruth Bell Graham. She wanted to be a foreign missionary, just like her parents, but when she attended Wheaton college in Chicago to study art and the Bible, she was approached by a man named William Graham. He asked her out on a date- to see Handel’s Messiah. She went to her room and prayed that night: “Lord, if You’d let me serve You with that man, I’d consider it the greatest privilege of my life.”
God answered her prayer.
Five children and 19 grandchildren later (many of them in the ministry themselves), Ruth Bell Graham knew through the highs and lows, that God knew what He was doing when He placed them together.
Their marriage and ministry has changed the world for the better.
Without much further ado, here are my 8 favorite quotes… the Grahams on Marriage.
“A happy marriage is the union of two great forgivers.” – Ruth Bell Graham
“Ruth likes to say, ‘If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.’ The sooner we accept that as a fact of life, the better we will be able to adjust to each other and enjoy togetherness.” -Billy Graham
When asked his secret of love, being married fifty-four years to the same person, he said: “Ruth and I are happily incompatible.” -Billy Graham
“The greatest enemy to love is selfishness – putting self first instead of the needs of others, especially your spouse.” -Billy Graham
“It’s my job to love and respect Billy; it’s God’s job to make him good. God called you not to make your husband good, but to make him happy.” – Ruth Bell Graham
True love is an act of the will- a conscious decision to do what is best for the other person instead of ourselves. – Billy Graham
Ruth [Graham] was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team. No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry. And my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support. I will miss her terribly, and look forward even more to the day I can join her in Heaven.” -Billy Graham
It is a foolish woman who expects her husband to be to her that which only Jesus Christ Himself can be: ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need, and making more than adequate provision. Such expectations put a man under an impossible strain. The same goes for the man who expects too much from his wife. -Ruth Bell Graham
Watercolor image used in quote graphic designed by Freepik
What do you think?
Do you agree with all of these quotes? Are there any other quotes from Ruth Bell or Billy Graham that you enjoy? What ministry couples do you look up to? What’s a story from your marriage that you think relates to one of these quotes?
P.S. For more about being a Pastor’s Wife, check out my article: The 8 Common Regrets of a Pastor’s Wife