5 Factors For a Healthy Marriage (Part 2)

In 5 Factors For a Healthy Marriage (Part 1), we studied the first two factors  which are:

1. Commitment~Take your hand off the back door knob of your marriage! Now!

2. Consideration~God says to love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other closer neighbor to us than our husband, who shares our bed and shares our bread. How can we show our number 1 priority, our husband, consideration?

3. Companionship: In Genesis, God saw what he had created and over and over again, God said, “It was good.” But something, all of a sudden was not good to God. What was it? It was not good for Adam to be alone.

When God said it was not good for Adam to be alone in Genesis 2:18, why didn’t God create a hunting buddy for Adam, or a few men who liked to golf or a couple of fellows for Adam to joke around with? Why? Because, other men do not fill the void Adam had of being alone. God knew there was only one “void filler”; one woman, a wife. Because Adam was alone, God created the female wife to be his best friend. The wife is to help her husband not feel lonely. She rescues her husband from loneliness.

“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18  Help meet are literally two Hebrew words meaning, “a helper suitable”. God created the wife to be “one who compliments; one who fills up the empty spaces of the husband.”

God created the wife for companionship. If we feel lonely in our marriage, we don’t need to go find a friend or a new hobby. If we feel lonely in our marriage, we need to work on our friendship with our spouse.  Our best friend is in our

Best Buddies
Best Buddies

home. God designed for you and your husband to be the closest friends. Barry calls me his best buddy. Love that!

  • How can we develop a close companionship with our husband?
  • How can we have a warm and vital friendship with the man that God intended for us?
  • How can we fill in his lonely places in life?

4. Communication: A sweet friendship in the marriage involves sharing and listening to one another.

Questions to consider:

  • Am I pleasant to talk with? How is my eye contact?
  • Would my husband consider me a good listener?  I need to remember that God gave me two ears and one mouth.
  • Does my husband enjoy talking to me? If not, what can I do to improve?

    Communicate
    Jeremy and Melinda
  • Does my husband feel like he can tell me everything on his heart? If not, why?
  • Does my husband trust me to keep confidential what he shares? What can I do to gain his trust?

5. Counsel: Do you know that there is someone besides God who knows your faults better than you know them?  Your husband.

Our husband can be our greatest counselor if we humble ourselves and allow him to show us blind spots. Blind spots are rough areas we all have that need smoothing out. (It goes both ways too, but I am speaking to wives, because my purpose is to help and encourage wives.) If God created the husband and wife to be best friends, then we need to allow our husband to sharpen us.

Sometimes we may feel wounded when we are told our faults. What does God say about these wounds we feel? “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”  Proverbs 27:5,6

Confessions of Heavenbound Homemaker:  I don’t like to be told my faults! Do you? I have even used the “I have a sensitive nature” routine. I would rather my husband keep my faults a “secret love.” But, the Bible says open rebuke is better than secret love and wounding words of rebuke are good for me. Ouch! That is no fun at all, but I know you and I desire to move forward, so we must allow God to use our husband to reveal to us blind spots…in a loving way of course.

There is a difference between sharpening a friend and having a critical negative spirit. Having a critical spirit is a blind spot in itself. The person who lovingly sharpens another is trying to help that person out of love for them. The person who sharpens is not doing it out of selfishness and anger.

Iron Sharpeneth IronThe Bible has the following to say about our husband, our best friend. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”  (Proverbs 27:17) What a wonderful marriage Scripture! We all want to look sharp…this saying came from this Scripture, but it isn’t speaking of dress. Our countenance, our face will look sharp according to this Scripture if we allow our best friend to sharpen us. If we bow up, we have just put a wall up between us and our best friend. The best friend we have is the one willing to tell us our blind spots, so let us not squelch that by being proud. I am talking to myself here. A person who hurts another to help them is being a best friend.

I like the sandwich approach of sharpening. It is not such a “blow” to the person.  A thin deli slice of one’s “fault” sandwiched between sweet praise and thanks. My youngest daughter used this approach with me just the other day. She said something very kind, a little deli slice of sharpening and then something very Sandwichkind.  It worked for me, and without the slightest hurt, I made the necessary changes. The sandwich approach is encouraging to the hearer. Many times over, we need to give the gift of encouraging words to our spouse.  “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.” Proverbs 27:9

Look at your husband today, find the strength of character he has and dwell on that. Tell him what you appreciate about him.  If we keep what we appreciate about him to ourselves and not tell it to him, then those thoughts are lost treasures we could have given away. Give him the gift of kind words and kind actions today. Be prepared to be sharpened by your best friend and to receive the sharpening as another way of your husband saying, “I love you.”

Speak Your Spouses Love Language – I recommend this book:

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Our son-in-law read this book

before he married our daughter.  He seeks to understand our daughter and to Marriage~leave and cleavespeak her love language. Let us seek to speak our husband’s love language.

This is a recent picture of our daughter, Melinda and her husband, Jeremy.

Upon request from readers, Melinda is in the process of writing her love story to share with you.

 

 

5 Factors For a Healthy Marriage (Part 1)

Baby Taking First Step
Sterling, taking his first steps! Yay!

The baby stands, takes a step and falls. The baby gets up and tries to walk again and falls. This continues. The parents cheer the baby on. Finally, the day comes when the baby takes his first steps to the sofa. Talk about proud parents! People who look through the photo album think, “Why are there twenty photos of that kid on the side of the sofa?” Why? The baby has walked, and the proud parents have captured the moment… twenty times!

When we fall in our marriage, we must keep getting up and working at it.  Every good marriage takes hard work and forgiveness.

A survey I read concluded that the majority of divorced people wished they had worked harder at their marriage. We are all going to fall. Everyone, and I mean everyone, who has a good marriage has fallen to some degree at times. But, they don’t give up! They keep getting up! Just like a proud parent, God cheers us on!

5 Factors for a Healthy Marriage

1. Commitment:  Commitment of the husband and wife to the marriage is found in Genesis in the word, “cleave.” “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

The word “cleave” means “weld or grip”.  Commitment is taking your hand off the

back door of marriage
Take your hand off!

doorknob that leads to the back door of your marriage. Your hand is on the doorknob if you are thinking and saying, “I, me, my… I don’t deserve this, I want someone who appreciates me…”  Commitment is more than taking your hand off the doorknob that leads to the back door of your marriage. Commitment is sealing up that back door! When we married, we not only made a vow to one another, we made a vow to God.

When marrying, there are three commitments each person must value:

  • Value your commitment to the Lord. Daily, spend time with God.
    Value Your Commitment to your Husband
    Value Your Commitment to your Husband

    Desire a moment by moment walk with the Lord.

  • Value your spouse’s commitment to the Lord. Encourage him in his walk with the Lord.
  • Value your commitment to your spouse. Be committed to your marriage.

2. Consideration:

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother”  (Genesis 2:24a)

“Leave” is not referring to abandonment, but to priority.  Being considerate means that no other relationship is to come before the husband and wife relationship.

  • The parents of the married couple must be considerate of their grown children, who have formed a new family. They must not interfere with their married children.
  • The married couple must be considerate of one another by putting each other before their parents. They now seek to please the Lord and one another above their parents.
Barry and Jodi, our precious daughter-in-law
Barry and Jodi, our precious daughter-in-law

The mothers and the dads of the newlyweds should be considerate and let their married children “go”. It never goes well when parents don’t “let go.” I have seen this happen, and it leads to so much unnecessary grief. The newlyweds may adopt different ways and ideas, but Moms and Dads must “let go” and not be overbearing with their “opinions”. God is telling the parents in this Scriptural principle, “No interfering.” Moms, there is now another lady who is first place in your married son’s life. The wife now comes first. Dads now have another man who is first place in their married daughter’s life. The husband comes before Dad. All must work hard to have new and healthy relationships with one another. We love our grown children’s spouses and enjoy spending time with them.  We are very blessed!

Before our children got married, I told them they should not tell us about marital spats (unless it is abuse, of course). If a daughter tells a parent about a “spat” she had with her husband, the parent develops an unforgiving grudge against the son-in-law, while the daughter forgives and moves on in her marriage.

Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” We always show honor to our parents no matter what age we are. Honour means “weighty” in the Hebrew.

  • Even though married sons and daughters do not have the obligation to obey their parents, they still weigh heavily their parent’s wisdom with respect.
  • Sons and daughters show honor by taking care of their elderly parents if their parents cannot take care of themselves. Jesus made a point of rebuking the Pharisees who neglected their elderly parents under the guise of religion. Matthew 15:1-9

Being kind and considerate is an important factor of a healthy marriage.  A husband and wife should build one another up and not tear each other down. If we go run to our girlfriends complaining about our husband, we are ruining his reputation. Fairly soon after the honeymoon, the wife realizes her husband is not 100% the man she thought he was. Focus on the 75% good and never Heart Attitudedwell on the other 25%. After all, we are not 100% either.

“What can I do today to show my husband consideration? Lord, give me wisdom in my marriage, and may I apply that wisdom today. Thank You, God for cheering me on!”

Part 2~coming up in the next post~

And they Lived Happily Ever After~( Ruth Part 4)

Scripture Reading~ Ruth 2:17-4:22

NaomiBitter Naomi, being in misery, originally thought God’s hand was against her. (Ruth 1:3) However, Naomi is coming to realize God was working through her for the benefit of all.  (Ruth 2:20)

  • Believe, no matter what you are going through, God cares about you.
  • Believe, no matter what you are going through, God is with you.
  • Believe, no matter what you are going through, God will work it for good.

One of the many reasons I love the book of Ruth is because it proves to our sons and daughters that Godly living can take place in a backslidden society. We taught our children that even though their peers may make bad choices in life, they should remember two words: Do Right! We also impressed on them to believe, “Even though others may, I may not.”

The culture at the time of the Book of Ruth was in the days of the judges where “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” and when mistresses were as common as wives. This meant most Christians lacked the fear of the Lord. Christians who are wise in their own eyes do not fear the Lord; therefore, they do not depart from evil. To have the fear of the Lord is to know God is always watching; as a result, a Christian cares about what God sees in their heart and in their actions. Those who do what is right in their own eyes do not care what God thinks.

Against this evil society, the lives of Boaz and Ruth shine for the Lord as they humbly served those in need.  Their lives shine as they both exalt the name of the Lord in conversation. It is obvious to others they have a walk with the Lord. Boaz is known as a man of integrity and as a servant leader. Ruth is known throughout the community as a virtuous woman. Even when living in a society of infidelity, Ruth and Boaz are pure. They show honor to God by keeping their marriage vows. Their lives shine as they build a God-fearing home. If we honor God, He will honor us! “So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”  Proverbs 3:4

Fairy Tales Do Come True:

Naomi sees the providential Hand of GodThe curtain rises at the home of Naomi and Ruth. Ruth enters and Naomi is extremely impressed by the amount of barley that Ruth brought home. She asked Ruth who had shown her such favor.

Naomi gets excited and sees the providential care of God.  Have we learned to trust God’s perfect plan for our lives over our perfect plan for our lives? God always knows what is best for us. I am still learning this lesson as I write. One of the main reasons for my study of Ruth was to encourage myself in the providential care of God. I am confident in knowing He will work out the situation that concerns me and is working it out right now. I pray this study has been a blessing for you too, dear lady friend.

Ruth was excited she had found favor with Boaz for the sole purpose of gleaning from his fields for food. Naomi, however, upon hearing of Boaz being the one who showed Ruth grace, realized that Boaz was a kinsman redeemer. Boaz was a relative of Naomi’s late husband.

Naomi had hope. She was hopeful that it could be God’s plan for Ruth and Boaz to marry. She knew Boaz was very interested in Ruth. Naomi sees how God was orchestrating the events that happened in her life for His purpose. While Ruth saw temporary hope, Naomi saw permanent hope.  Naomi praises God for Ruth~ His loving care for her and Ruth. (Ruth 2:19,20)

Ruth continued to glean in the fields of Boaz until the end of harvest season, which was about seven more weeks. I am sure they both had many lunch dates together. By the end of the harvest season, Ruth and Boaz were in love.

In Ruth 3, Naomi was not being forward as it seems, but is instructing her daughter-in-law to follow the Law of Moses, so that Naomi’s son’s name would continue through the kinsman redeemer. (Deut. 25:5-10) This way, Ruth’s first husband’s name would not be blotted out of history, because she has been redeemed by the nearest next-of-kin. (Ruth 3:12)

By law, Ruth, being a widow, had to take the next step with Boaz who had already shown very obvious interest in Ruth.  Because Ruth was a widow, she was the one to take the initiative. If Ruth were not a widow, Boaz would take the initiative.  As a widow, it was her move and her right to make her intentions known to the kinsman. Boaz was hoping Ruth would choose him. It is obvious Boaz is crazy about Ruth.

As harvest season comes to an end, Ruth obeys the instructions of her mother-in-law. Ruth shows honor and respect to her mother-in-law who has become like a mother to Ruth. When it comes to marrying, it is good to take notice of how the person respects his/her parents.  A young man or young lady who does not show honor and respect to their own mother will probably not show honor and respect to their future spouse.

Naomi’s instructions to Ruth (Ruth 3) may seem a bit strange to us, but Boaz was very aware of the Levitical law.  Boaz had already let Ruth know he was interested in her. He did not know how she felt about him. He was an aged man and thought that his age might be a hindrance to Ruth wanting to marry him. When Boaz realized Ruth was interested in marrying him just as much as he was interested in marrying her, he was thrilled.  Boaz excitedly let Ruth know that he felt humbled she would accept an older man in marriage over a younger one.

“And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.”

“And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” Ruth 3:10,11

The entire city knows Ruth is a virtuous woman! Ruth is a new believer whose Light has shone and all have taken notice!  A permanent attraction between a man and a woman goes beyond the physical and involves the spiritual. Ruth’s Godly character:

  1. Kind (Ruth 1:8)
  2. Compassionate (Ruth 1:14-18; 2:11)
  3. Loyal (Ruth 1:14-17)
  4. Decisive (Ruth 1:13-18)
  5. Dedicated to God (Ruth 1:16)
  6. Initiative (Ruth 2:2)
  7. Diligent work ethic  (Ruth 2:7,14,17)
  8. Grateful (Ruth 2:13)
  9. Humble (Ruth 2:10,13)
  10. Expressed Thankfulness (Ruth 2:10)
  11. Self-control (Ruth 2:14)
  12. Responsible: helping family/ elderly parent (Ruth 2:17,18)
  13. Honored and Respected authority (Ruth 3:5)

Naomi’s prediction was correct. Boaz did not rest that day until the matter was settled.  Naomi knew Boaz was crazy about Ruth. Boaz had already looked into the matter of marrying Ruth, but there is a problem that must be solved first before Boaz can marry Ruth. The problem is there exist another man who is a closer kinsman than Boaz.

Boaz immediately sets out to solve the problem that hinders him from marrying Ruth.  Boaz is a man of action who knows what he wants. He desires to have this virtuous lady as his wife!  The minute Boaz realized Ruth was interested in marrying him as much as he was interested in marrying her, Boaz became a go-getter. After Boaz realized Ruth chose him over a younger man, he took immediate action.

Apparently, Naomi’s late husband had owned a piece of property which was sold

Boaz wins Ruth
Boaz wins the hand of Ruth over the competition

because of poverty. (Ruth 4:3) Under the law, the land belonged to God and the sale was not permanent.  In Leviticus 25:23-33, Moses explained that a near kinsman can repurchase the land and give it back to the poor who had sold the land.  Also, the nearest kinsman had to marry the poor widow to have children in her husband’s name.  (Ruth 3:12) Boaz is a man of honesty and integrity. He seeks out to do the right thing.

To the single Christian lady: Make sure the young man, who has eyes for you, respects you and does not take advantage of you! A man of integrity will respect you.  He will want to follow your parent’s wishes for you, and will not speak bad about your parents behind their backs. If he back-stabs your parents, that is a huge red flag. Send him on his way. Our two daughters are virtuous ladies.  Before marriage, there were two young men who came along who did not like the standards we had for our daughters. These young men lost out. They did not win the hand of our daughters. Our daughters married men of integrity who respected them and honored our standards for our daughters. They took great care to do what our daughter’s dad asked of them.

In Ruth 4, we see there were strings attached to buying the property.  Whoever bought the property, had to marry Ruth.  Boaz must have sighed in relief when the nearest kinsman decided he did not want to marry Ruth. Boaz seals the deal with a shoe as was the custom, and had now acquired the legal right to marry his love, Ruth.

Can’t you just picture Boaz

Fairy Tale Wedding
Kristen and Dwayne~ Wedding Day

bursting with joy on the inside and praising God?

I love to go to weddings and watch the groom waiting for his beloved to appear.

The grooms face of excited anticipation says it all. The grooms face changes to adoration as his bride walks down the aisle. I can still see Barry’s excited expression as I walked down the aisle with my Daddy. Oh, and our honeymoon to Hawaii? Exceptional! And to think I wanted to honeymoon in Disney World. Glad I listened to my future husband…good choice honey and so romantic! Private beaches! We went to Disney World many times after we were married.

Ruth’s Deliverer:  Boaz and Ruth probably had a traditional Jewish Wedding ceremony which took place at night.  As soon as any members of the wedding spotted the moving torches signaling the groom’s approach, their cry echoed throughout the streets, “The bridegroom is coming.” The bride would get prepared and then come out to meet the groom.  The two, accompanied by their wedding party, returned together to the groom’s home for the marriage ceremony.  Following the public ceremony, the newlyweds entered their bridal chamber to be intimate with each other for the first time.

When I was young, some children would say this little ditty:

First comes love

Then comes marriage

Then  comes baby…

In a baby carriage.

This order is God’s plan for a family. Physical intimacy is God’s gift for marriage.

Ruth, Boaz, Obed and NaomiThe Lord blessed Ruth and Boaz with a baby boy and they named him Obed. Naomi was  able to be a nurse to him and help train up her grandson in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

I can identify with Naomi’s joy over her grandchild and being able to spend time with her grandchild. Something was missing when our married children and grandchildren moved far away (even though they did not want to move away from us). Talking on the phone was just not the same as being with them.

This past summer, Barry and I took drastic steps in our lives to move very close to our children and grandchildren. In fact, we just purchased a house ten minutes away from them. They are so thrilled. We are too! I desire to be a part of pointing our grandchildren to Jesus, just as Grandma Naomi did with Obed and just as Grandma Lois did

grandchildren invigorate
Grandchildren invigorate

with Timothy (2 Tim. 1:5). Both Grandmas spent time with their grandchildren and impacted their lives. Grandchildren need their Godly grandparents.  My grandmother played a big part in me getting saved. She witnessed to me of how Jesus is the only way to heaven. My other grandmother read her Bible every evening right in front of us and shared with us what she read. Grandparents need their grandchildren too. Grandchildren invigorate!

The women of the city rejoiced and said that Naomi had a daughter-in-law, who was so much better to her than seven sons. Seven is the number of perfection. Ruth 4:13-22

And the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.”

God is so good! The bitter mother-in-law, Naomi, went from hopelessness to hope and trust; from poverty to plenty. God changed her brokenness to completeness. Naomi was empty, but now full.  God turned her sorrow into joy.

Ruth’s Destiny: A young peasant woman, faithful in little was transformed by God from rags to royalty.  Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David. Ruth is in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the King of kings.

This fairy tale that came true was God’s preparation for the births of King David and of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. Just as Ruth was unaware of this bigger purpose in her life, we will not know the full purpose and importance of our lives until we are able to look back from an eternal perspective.

Today, let us make our choices with God’s eternal values in mind. Because Ruth was faithful and obedient, her life was extremely significant, even though she couldn’t see all the results at the time.

Let us live life in faithfulness to God. Let us live life in obedience to God. Let us remember the significance of our life will extend beyond our lifetime. God works in mysterious ways, and He is working eternal good in each of our lives.

With our life story, our Father begins, “Once upon a time there lived__________ . ”  Our story will never read, “THE END.” heart

 

Instead, Christian lady, our life will continually continue~ “And she lived happily FOREVER and ever after.”

The day will come when every Christian lady will be swept off her feet and taken away by her Prince, her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ and kept for all eternity in His presence, the joy of the Lord forever and ever and ever.

This is THE END of our study of Ruth for now.

My favorite Prayer Scripture in this Book is Ruth 2:12, and I wish to make it my prayer today for you, dear friend:

“The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”

And They Lived Happily Ever After~ (Ruth Part 3)

Happily Ever After

two heartsScripture Reading Ruth 2:8-20

This Romantic Love Story of Ruth and Boaz was perfectly timed for Valentines Day!

I like to picture Prince Charming Boaz riding up on a horse to the damsel in distress, Ruth.

Have you thought about how our Redeemer is coming one day riding on a white horse? (See Revelation 19:11) …and we will have a castle (mansion) in heaven. (See John 14:2,3) And eventually, we will never cry another tear. (See Revelation 21:4)  Living happily ever after is not just in fairy tales. If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you can claim you will live happily ever after… and that claim is 100% correct.

Boaz meets RuthIn Ruth 2:8-14, God painted a very vivid picture of Boaz’s and Ruth’s very first dialogue. Ruth had no idea that one day she would be married to this wealthy man who owned the entire field in which she was now gleaning.

Up until now, Ruth was only allowed to glean the corners of the field that were left for the poor and foreigners. She was unprotected. But things were about to change because of Ruth’s good character, which had not gone unnoticed. Boaz was generous with Ruth and her mother-in-law. Boaz let Ruth know that he wanted her to stay in his field only, so he could provide for her and protect her.

Ruth asked Boaz why he was showing her such grace.  What a marvelous question to ask Boaz. I am so glad she inquired.  Ruth (and we too) may have never known the wonderful, inspiring words of Boaz, if she had not asked.

I feel romantic when I read the Book of Ruth and when I read Song of Solomon. Right now, I want to relive with my husband how we first met. We have been married thirty-three years. We dated for over 3 years.

When we first met, I was a brand new Christian at the age of twenty, and I was about to attend my very first Bible Study. My sister, Debbie (my first convert), and I walked into the room where the Bible Study was being held…and there he was; my Boaz. The class was almost full, but there just happened to be an empty seat by Barry.

I walked up to him and my first words to Barry were, “Is this seat taken?”

Barry answered with a big friendly smile, “No, it’s not.”

Then it was time for the Bible Study leader to start. The romance was about to bloom.

Afterwards, Barry walked with my sister and me as we were leaving the Bible Study. Barry never stopped smiling that handsome smile. I still love that smile of his, and I enjoy putting a smile on his handsome face. Barry called me that week and asked if my sister and I would go to church with him.

1969 green grande' mustangInstead of riding up on a white horse, my Prince Charming drove up in a green mustang; a 1969 Grande Mustang.

Barry went to great lengths for three years in his pursuit of me. I broke our engagement two times. Finally, I realized Barry was the love of my life. That is a true statement, because I never loved any man before he came along. Barry asked my Dad for my hand in marriage, and we were married on June 23, 1979.  Thirty three years later, we are still walking together through life as husband and wife… and as best friends. I thank the Lord for my best buddy, Barry.

Today, I decided to ask my Prince Charming a similar Ruth-like question. “What did you see in me when you met me, to cause you to pursue me?”

His response: “When you walked into that room, I thought, ‘Wow, how pretty!’ I loved your beautiful smile, and your long curly hair.” He went on about only the physical.

Well, we all know the outer fades with age, so I said, “What about my character?”

He playfully continued, “Sorry sweetie… initially, it was all a physical attraction.” Then he added that he liked my shy mannerisms. Wish I had known, because I spent my whole life trying to overcome those.

Just Married~June 23, 1979
Just Married~June 23, 1979

Barry then said that as he got to know me better, he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He enjoyed being with me. He said he could see my potential and thought I would make a good wife and a good mother.

“Aww…I like that answer, honey! You’re off the hook.” (Big Smile)

The best foundation for a marriage relationship is for each person to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

When I met Barry, I immediately saw that Barry had a personal relationship with the Lord. That fact was immensely important to me. Barry tells people that God rewarded Him by bringing me into his life. He continues and says that he would have been mediocre without me.  Aww… “Her husband is known in the gates…” (Proverbs 31:23) God gets all the glory.  Barry has served for years in a leadership position in our church and as an encouragement to our Pastor.

Let me bring up a point here: Like Barry said, “He could see my potential.” I could also see the direction Barry was heading, and it was a positive direction.

Courtship and Marriage: When we learn about the character of Boaz, we notice that he was an aged man. In most cases, a younger man than Boaz will want to marry our daughter. A young man will usually not have the spiritual maturity of the aged Boaz. When a young man is interested in courting our daughter, it is important to observe the direction he is heading.  The young lady (plus her parents) should ask God to give insight to see his future potential and if the young man will continue to grow to be a man of integrity and honor. The young lady should never marry someone with the thought, “I will change him.”  That is a lie from the devil.  The only one we can change is ourselves.

The Power of Crying out to God:

I believe God gives “eyes to see” the future potential of  the one we are to marry when we cry out to Him in passionate prayer. 

“The effectual (actively powerful) fervent (with heated zeal) prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Jame 5:16 ~ (Greek meaning in parenthesis)

Years ago, I remember crying out to the Lord about Barry, and asking Him if Barry was “the one.” I told God that I knew divorce was not an option, and I wanted to be 100% sure.

I remember exactly what I was reading in my Bible, exactly where I was and the exact date. It was right after Christmas of 1978, and I was in my bedroom. I lived at home until the day I married.

Our family had returned home from my brother’s Prayer~funeral. God greatly comforted me through the 23rd Psalm. My eighteen year old brother had passed away in a car accident, and the funeral was on Christmas Eve. God was extra close to me that night, or I should say that I had moved closer to the Lord that night. God spoke in my heart when I fervently asked Him about Barry.

As I cried out to God for direction, God illumined my mind by giving me absolute peace. The LORD revealed two important things to me about Barry:

  1. God spoke in my heart that Barry was “the one” I was to marry. He gave me peace and reassurance.
  2. God spoke in my heart telling me that Barry would be a good Spiritual leader for our family.  God knew the future and I did not. During prayer, God gave me a glimpse of our future together as husband and wife.

It was then, I asked Barry to marry me.  Yes, you read it right. It was my turn to take the initiative to let Barry know I had chosen him, just as he had chosen me to marry. I had broken our engagement twice before, when he proposed first. I had been unsure if he was “the one God had planned for me.” Six months after God confirmed in my heart Barry was “the one,” I became Linda Hoover. I am so thankful for God’s leading and for His very clear direction as I sought Him about the matter.

I firmly believe God will give clear vision to anyone looking for direction as to whether they should marry a certain person or not. God will not leave us in an unsure state in something of such magnitude of importance as marriage. He will speak to a person’s heart if that person fervently seeks His direction and His lead. We have not prayed, until we have prayed wholeheartedly.

Boaz answered Ruth’s question by explaining how he had heard all about her actions which had spoken volumes about her character and Godliness. Boaz showed Ruth favor. He was very specific in letting Ruth know his wishes for her to stay in his field only.  Boaz wanted to honor and protect Ruth.  I think Boaz was already smitten by Ruth. What do you think?

Ruth gratefully said to Boaz, “Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for Virtuous Ruththat thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.” Ruth 2:13

She hoped she would continue to find favor in his sight and said he spoke “friendly” to her. In the Hebrew, friendly means: He spoke “from feelings deep down in his heart to her heart.” Boaz spoke with deep heart-felt feelings to Ruth, explaining that he knew of her tender care of her mother-in-law after her husband died, and about her leaving her people and country to live in Bethlehem. He knew Ruth was a new believer. Boaz also prayed for Ruth in which he demonstrated he was a good Spiritual Leader.

In Ruth 2:14, Boaz invited Ruth to eat with the reapers, and he just happened to be present at the meal too.  Boaz must have been dining close to Ruth, because he handed her some parched corn. It was their first date.

Notice Ruth ate just enough food for nourishment and did not stuff herself.  She did not have to take a break when finished because of eating too much, but went right back to work after she had eaten just the right portion.  Ruth had self-control.

Portion control is so important. In my mother’s china cabinet, there is a set of antique chinachina that belonged to my great grandmother.  The century old china

Portion control
Kristen and Brianna

dinnerware was so small and dainty, but many of the ladies who lived back then were small and dainty too. Our daughter, Kristen, sometimes uses a small dinner plate to eat, so she can practice portion control. She is slim and trim even after four babies. Kristen has incredible self-control which factors into other areas of her life besides meals. We should try our best to maintain a decent weight to look our best for our husband.

Boaz is impressed with Ruth, noticing how Ruth immediately went back to the hard work of gleaning, after she ate. Boaz helps Ruth further, by instructing his reapers to look out for her, and drop extra food for Ruth.  He also told his workers to allow Ruth to glean in other areas besides just the corners of the fields. (See Ruth 2:15,16)

Boaz is a type of Christ. This picture of “poor Ruth” is a reminder of how God gave the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, for me, a poor sinner.

Naomi sees the providential Hand of GodRuth worked from sun up to sun down. That day, she happily brought about 20 pounds (ephah) of barley to her mother-in-law. Naomi knew with the abundance of barley that someone had shown Ruth favor.

  1.  Have you and I experienced some unexpected sheaves and grain from the Lord that sweetened our lives? What are we grateful for today? Let us tell the Lord, thank you!
  2. Are we gleaning (and teaching our children to glean) only in the field of Boaz (who is a picture of Christ)? What does the Lord say to us in 1 John 2:15-17 about gleaning in fields other than His?

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17

To the Christian lady: Your story is really His story line for you heart– His drama. No failure is ever final because one day…you will live happily ever after, with Him. Let this hope make for a happy day and a hope filled life!

Since it is close to Valentines Day, would you like to share your love story of how you met your “Boaz”? I would love to hear from you!

And They Lived Happily Ever After~(Ruth Part 2)

Scripture Reading ~Ruth 1:19 – 2:10

Fairy tales sometimes come true.  Once upon a time there lived a bitter mother-in-law, a beautiful damsel in distress and a Prince who came to the rescue… and they all lived happily ever after. Happy Endings are not just for fairy tales.

As the curtain rises on Ruth 1:19, Ruth and Naomi have traveled from Moab, which is a picture of the world, and have now entered Bethlehem, which means, “place of Bread.”

Dear precious lady: Take time to relax in your favorite place with your Bible in hand and please join me in Part 2 of my Study of Ruth. One thing I have learned is to never read my Bible to gain knowledge. That is a sure found way for me to get puffed up and to get the big head. I ask the Lord to help me to know Him in a deeper way, to walk with Him moment by moment and to show me how to apply His Word to my life.  I have underlined practical applications and questions to ponder. I desire Ruth-like character, so the character qualities I observed in Ruth are in bold print. May you be blessed as you glean treasures from God’s Holy Word.

Ruth 1:19-“And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?” 

Ruth and NaomiEntering into the new stage of life: As the curtain rises, picture the two widows entering into Bethlehem. All the city was in a buzz over these two ladies: Naomi and Ruth. One of the widows, initially caused quite a stir. Why are all the people of Bethlehem shocked about Naomi’s appearance? Ladies, we cannot afford to be bitter. Bitterness will soon show up on our face. Bitterness is the opposite of a face lift. When Naomi and Ruth entered Bethlehem, all the people were surprised at how much Naomi had aged. After 10 years, the people were shocked at the change in Naomi’s looks, and did not even recognize Naomi. Naomi explained her bitterness to the people.

See my post, “Exchange Bitterness For Kindness And Forgiveness.”

The culture of Bethlehem during this time: This was a very dark time in the lives of God’s people. The backdrop of the Book of Ruth took place during the time of the Judges (See Ruth 1:1). The Book of Judges ends with these words, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

The culture was the “Dark Ages” of Israel where anything goes. In the Book of Judges, there are written some horrendous stories of crimes against God and crimes against man. This was the time of mistresses and low moral standards even amongst God’s people. Sounds like the day we live in, does it not? As this true story unfolds, watch why Ruth stood out amongst the rest. Even if the Christians around her had low morals, Ruth did not go along with the crowd to Virtuous Ruthfit in. It is possible to be pure when surrounded with impurity.

For the single young ladies: consider why Ruth gained the attention of the Godly man, named Boaz. Mothers, we need to teach our daughters about the character of Ruth. The world teaches a sensuous way to get a man’s attention. God teaches that being a lady of virtue is what counts to gain the right kind of attention.

The Bible clearly teaches that a lady should  dress modestly. Do we allow our culture to define our clothing, or do we stand out in a good way in our culture by allowing the Bible to define our clothing. The

Modest Clothing
Dress Modest and to Accent Countenance

culture says to dress sensually. God clearly says to dress in modest clothing. “…women adorn themselves in modest apparel…” ITim2:9 This does not mean that a lady needs to dress in frumpy outdated clothes.  A lady can dress in style, yet be modest. A good thing to remember when getting dressed is to ask this question: Does this outfit draw other’s eyes to my countenance? Photo: Jeremy and Melinda’s 2nd Christmas together~When Jeremy first saw Melinda, he liked that she was different from other Christian young ladies, because she dressed modestly.

Mothers, we also need to teach our sons to beware of worldly girls.  I can remember a worldly girl, who set her sights on a nice Christian young man. The worldly girl said, “I am going to get him and marry him one day.” This worldly girl sensually enticed the young man and sadly, the young man fell. The worldly girl married him, they divorced, and today, the young man is still spiraling downward.

In order to teach our son to beware of wicked women, our family consistently read a Proverb for the day each morning. God warns the young men to be alert and avoid these types of girls in several Proverbs. Our family read the Proverb for the day, so our son heard about these types of wicked girls once a month.

To keep one’s son from sin, get God’s Word in his heart. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11)

Have Family Devotions! We called our family devotions “Wisdom Searches;” a family time of seeking and applying the Wisdom of God. Our family devotions were consistent: Everyday!  It was not a hit-or-miss time. Children need consistency in what is right. Adults need consistency too.

It did not take long for the entire city of Bethlehem to consider Ruth a virtuous woman. (Ruth 3:11) A godly young man, who is ready for marriage should look for the character of Ruth in a young lady. We already see that Ruth is saved, kind, loyal, devoted and faithful. What other godly character qualities do you see? The next two character qualities that pop out to me are Ruth’s initiative and her diligence. Ruth is definitely not a slothful lady.

In Bethlehem, during the Springtime, barley harvest begins. True love budded in the Springtime too.

A Romantic Love Story Unfolds~ Ruth had an idea of how to provide food for her mother-in-law and for herself. Ruth took initiative.

Have you and your husband talked about what you would do if either of your parents needed help? The Bible teaches that we have the God-given responsibility to help our aging parents if they have a set-back. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for neglecting their aging parents.

Ruth asked Naomi’s permission to glean the grains from corners of the fields which under the law, were to be left for the poor and the gentiles. (See Leviticus 19:9,10)

As it turned out, when Ruth, our damsel in distress was gathering the grain, she Lived Happily Ever Aftercaught the eye of the most eligible bachelor of all Bethlehem. She just happened to be in Boaz’s field.  We might think, “What luck!” Instead of luck, God is the Director in the symphony of life and God orchestrates all things to fulfill His good purposes. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28) God loves you and me just as much as He loves Ruth. If we love God and desire to follow Him, no matter what hardship comes our way, He will orchestrate our symphony of life for His good purpose. God has a  story line for us. No failure in our lives is final; no fear in our lives is fatal. We are His story, so let us trust Him! Remember, there is no such thing as chance.

The Bible describes Boaz as the “mighty man of wealth.” (Ruth 2:1) I looked up the word, “mighty” in the Hebrew and the description of Boaz intensifies: Boaz was powerful. He was strong like a champion. Boaz was a valiant man. He was physically impressive. Boaz had noble character. His name means, “In him is strength.” Boaz was no wimp. The no-wimp part was my addition. We have just been introduced to “our knight in shining armor” in this fairy tale that came true. Both Ruth and Boaz stood out as shining lights in a culture that was lacking both spiritually and morally.

In Ruth 2:4, Boaz is known to be a man of God and exalts God in his everyday language with others. Single Christian young lady, it is important to marry a Christian man who exalts the Lord in his everyday life.  God cares for you! God wants the best for you, so that is why He does not want you to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. (See 2 Corinthians 6:14) God has these types of commands in the Bible, so you will be protected. What love God has for you! spectaclesNote: If a Christian young man does not exalt the Lord in everyday conversation, it is a red flag. Send him on his way, because he does not have a walk with the Lord. I taught my daughters, “As an unmarried lady, look at the fellow through spectacles. As a married lady, look at your husband through rose colored glasses.

When Boaz sees Ruth, his interest is piqued. Boaz inquires about Ruth and likes what he hears about her. She has a good reputation. Ruth is known as a kind-hearted young lady of good character. She is known to have “forsaken all” for the love of her mother-in-law and for the love of God. I never read in the Bible that Ruth was a beauty on the outside. God makes mention of Ruth’s inner beauty which is what counts!

Ruth wowed Boaz when he heard about her Godly character! It seems that a little time might have elapsed before Boaz made his entrance into Ruth’s life.  He needed time to work out just the right words to say to Ruth. Boaz needed time to make sure he made a good impression on her. It is obvious there was much thought that went into Boaz’s words to Ruth as they met for the very first time. Boaz had eagerly worked it out so Ruth would stay in his field, and he would take care of her. It was dangerous for a vulnerable girl to be in other men’s fields and Boaz knew that danger.  He even warned his own men to protect her and to not touch her.

Picture the scene: This wealthy, powerful, valiant man rides Boaz Ruthup to the damsel in distress, who is working hard in the field gathering food. Boaz asks Ruth to only glean in his fields. In return, he would provide food, water and protection.

Turns out that not only is Boaz an eligible bachelor, but also, Boaz is Naomi’s relative, a kinsman redeemer. Coincidence? This is obviously the hand of God!   I think of the Scripture, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1 Ruth had a good name and loving favour. Do you and I have a good name and loving favour? If someone were to ask another about our character, how would the person respond? What areas need improvement? What action do I need to take to have better character? “Lord, work Your character in and through me.”

Notice, Ruth was diligent and not lazy. She had a good work ethic. God worked in Ruth’s life as Ruth went about doing the mundane, but tiring work of gathering food. When we are going about our daily routines of homemaking, God is working in our lives too.

I don’t picture Ruth as being a person who complained of the monotonous, tedious, tiring hard work of gleaning. She must have had a cheerful countenance while she worked, for Boaz to take note. I don’t think he would have been interested in a “grump.” Do you? What does my family note about my countenance while I am working in the home? What do I complain about? “Lord, I am so sorry for having a complaining spirit. Keep my focus on my blessings.” As another fairy tale line goes, “Whistle while you work.” Singing praises to the Lord during the day is a sign of being Spirit filled. “singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:19)

Allowing the poor to glean the fields was the welfare system at that time. Notice how God planned for them to work for their food. Gleaning fields was hard work and the gleaners got paid with food they gathered themselves. Scripture teaches, “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2Thessalonians 3:10) Do we demonstrate and teach a good work ethic to our children?

Have you heard of love at first sight?  God put it in Boaz’ heart to see with his spiritual eyes that there was something special about Ruth. He did not treat her as an inferior.  A divorced lady who worked as a waitress once told our unmarried daughter to watch how a young man treats a waitress.  “If a man treats a waitress badly, he will treat you badly.” What do you think about that advice?

I love to read about Ruth and Boaz’s first face-to-face meeting.

“Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:

Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.

Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger? (Ruth 2:8-10)

heartsBoaz’s act of kindness towards Ruth is three-fold:

1.  She was allowed to follow the maidens of Boaz’s field, who had the job of gathering and bundling all the reapers had cut.

2.  She would not be harmed, but would be safe in his field.

3.  It was hot and tiring work, so Ruth was allowed to drink of the reaper’s water anytime she was thirsty.

Take note of Ruth’s humble and grateful response. Do we show humble gratefulness to our husband for being a good provider? How do we show him gratefulness? Do we tell him “Thank you?” Ruth had a thankful heart.

“Lord, Thank You for my husband. Show me how I can demonstrate to him ‘gratefulness’ for all he has done for me. Let me be a bright spot in my husband’s day today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”