In his obituary for Ruth Bell Graham, Marshall Shelley writes: "Ruth provided a measure of grit that complemented Billy's more diplomatic style." Marshall edits Leadership, CT's sister publication for pastors, so it is only natural that he then provides three telling illustrations of Mrs. Graham's grit. Go read them.

From 1981 to 1983, Ruth Graham wrote a column for this magazine. Called "By the Way," it was brief, pithy, and often quite pointed. I re-read the lot of them, and they confirmed Marshall's use of the word grit.

One example is her column from September 18, 1981, titled "Needed: Incompatibility." Mrs. Graham made it clear that "incompatibility" was needed in every marriage and was hardly a reason for divorce. Then she did a preacherly turn and exposited the key words her dictionary used to define incompatible.

About conflicting, she wrote, "I once knew a man who refused to let his wife disagree with him on anything. Now, every man needs to be disagreed with occasionally. This poor man's personality, his ego, and even his judgment suffered."

Having established that everyone needs to be disagreed with, she concluded the column with a curious tale about having lunch with several friends while their husbands played golf. One "older companion" offered her friends the secret to her happy marriage: "We never do anything together," the woman said. "Except," she added with an irrepressible laugh, "sleep together."

When their husbands rejoined them, Mrs. Graham couldn't help noticing the obvious affection the other woman's husband displayed. "Three cheers for incompatibility!" she trumpeted in conclusion.

If Mrs. Graham didn't hesitate to disagree with her famous husband, she wasn 't slow to disagree with CT's editors either. ...

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