As we approach the Valentines Day holiday, the stores are full of bright candy packages and little ways to express your love on this special day. But, I’d like to tell you a story of a love that began with seemingly little acts that proved to be far more valuable than red foil packages.
Long ago, two widows journeyed to settle afresh in Bethlehem, the only nearby land that promised food in an era of famine. You may have heard their names: Naomi, a mother-in-law, widowed for 10 years, but embittered anew by the recent loss of her two sons. She was accompanied by Ruth, the faithful daughter-in-law still in mourning for the loss of her young husband as well.
They arrived tired and destitute after weeks of travel. The Law of Moses commanded that the corners of every field should not be harvested so the poor could come behind the harvesters and gather up the leftovers. Ruth faithfully gleaned fallen grain from the fields of Naomi’s relative, Boaz, so she and Naomi could have food to eat.
So begins one of the most romantic stories ever told. If you are unfamiliar with this story, read the short, but powerful book of Ruth in the Old Testament. It ends with the marriage of Ruth to Boaz, establishing them as a couple after God’s own heart and as ancestors of Christ.
But, the grand “happily-ever-after” ending was not based on the romantic emotions that drive many modern relationships. Ultimately, the relationship of Ruth and Boaz was founded on trust. This trust was built from seeing character exhibited in the little things. This led to ultimately what every couple desires – a true love built on trust and faithfulness. For instance:
Ruth had a servant’s heart – she came to Naomi’s hometown ready to serve her mother-in-law. She was prepared to sacrifice everything to faithfully assist Naomi. Ruth’s little act of gleaning grain for her mother-in-law was not only appreciated by Naomi, but also endeared Ruth to the community and to Boaz. Boaz noted and praised such devotion and character (Ruth 2:11).
Boaz was also a man of character – a kind and conscious land-owner who faithfully obeyed the compassionate law of Moses requiring the corners of every field to be left for the poor to glean. Boaz also faithfully followed the law when seeking Ruth’s hand in marriage. Boaz exhibited in little and big ways the character and trust that all couples must foster and encourage in their marriage.
Faithfulness is encouraged as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and is essential for your marriage. And because your spouse is counting on you, faithfulness must be part of your daily walk. Faithfulness means that your spouse can count on you to do what you say you will do, be where you say you will be, and do what needs to be done. How would you rate your faithfulness even in the “little” things?
As Boaz and Naomi praised Ruth, encouragement is invaluable to your spouse. Actions of faithfulness and character should be highlighted and gratefully acknowledged. The pressures and chores of a wife and mom never seem to end, and should be praised. The roles and responsibilities of a husband and father weigh heavily every day, and likewise should be valued and appreciated. As a couple, you are to be your spouse’s Number One cheerleader. Open your eyes to all he or she does for you and others. Then count the ways you can openly and personally praise and encourage them.
Trust is fragile. It is slowly obtained over time, but can be lost in an instant. In Boaz and Ruth you have front-row seats for observing diligence, devotion, patience, thoughtfulness, discretion, generosity, compassion, and honesty in a marriage. It’s obvious these many godly character qualities combined to create a couple after God’s own heart.
Question: What godly traits do you see in your spouse and need to encourage this week?
Make 2013 the best year ever for your marriage!
We just released our new book, A Couple After God’s Own Heart, which teaches secrets to a great marriage by learning from biblical couples, such as Abraham and Sarah, Boaz and Ruth, Joseph and Mary, etc. Get started by taking our fun free challenge, “5 Ways in 5 Days to be a Closer Couple.”