Most people don’t come looking for marital advice until they face hard times. I want to help you by giving you some sound advice from the book of Ruth. The love story between Ruth (a Moabite widow) and Boaz (a wealthy landowner in Bethlehem) has to be one of the great love stories of all time. Surely we can learn something from them. There must have been something about Ruth that attracted Boaz to him beyond just physical beauty.
A young minister was faced with his first wedding ceremony. He sought counsel from an older preacher. The experienced man told the young man everything he needed to do and made one final suggestion: “If you ever forget what you are supposed to say,” he advised, “just quote Scripture. It is always appropriate to quote Scripture.” The young man did a great job in conducting the marriage ceremony, until he pronounced the young couple husband and wife. At that point, his mind went blank. He did not know what to say. He remembered the advice of the old preacher to quote Scripture, so he quoted the only verse that came to his mind. Unfortunately he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Oops!
That’s the way it was when many of us married. We didn’t fully know what we were doing. And as life goes on sometimes we can continue making the same mistakes. One of the greatest mistakes we make is that when life gets hard, we fail to demonstrate faith. Your marriage partner needs your encouragement. He may be a tough guy, but he needs you to say, you believe in him and that God will ultimately come through. She may have a positive attitude days, but on the most difficult days, she need her believing man to speak and act in faith. That is marital advice you can really use.
Ruth apparently had that kind of a spirit. Even though she faced a lot of difficulty in her life, she maintained this attitude: I will do what I can and leave the rest to God.
Even though she had lost her husband and father in law and brother in law in a tragic and untimely way, she refused to give in to the feeling that her life would turn out negatively. That attitude caused her to be proactive in her situation, (going to glean in the fields during barley harvest) and being proactive allowed her to end up right in Boaz field. That “go to” and “believe God” attitude got Boaz’ attention. Actually, it caught his attention before he ever saw her in his field and met her personally.
After he met Ruth he commented to her that he had heard of her exceptional attitude. Ruth 2:11-12 says “And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
Think of that! Before he met her he had already heard of her faith filled attitude toward life. And so when she showed up in Boaz’ field, with him seeing her hard at work doing what she could. That made her very attractive to him.
Ruth knew there were certain strikes against her. She was a young foreign widow among ethnic oriented people. For the most part Jewish men didn’t marry women that were outside of their nationality. In particular that would have been true for wealthy highly respected Jewish men. So not only had she lost her husband, but she was among a culture where she could be discriminated against for being a Moabite woman, but marriage probably wasn’t going to happen either. She accepted the fact that her young husband she loved was gone. She knew she couldn’t change that. However, it is obvious by watching her actions she had faith about her life. Her attitude was I will do I can and trust God to do the rest.
The best marital advice Ruth has is for us to exhibit our faith by how we act and how we speak.
Some people have been married for years and when hard times come, instead of speaking faith, they predict gloom and doom and heartache. Instead of speaking life, hope, and good things over their marriage, they speak death to it.
Some may respond to this by saying, I am just a pessimist. I have always loved the story of the first steamship ever launched in America. It was there on the side of the river. And there was a man standing there and as they were untying it from the dock he said, they will never get it going. They will never get it going. But sure enough, to his surprise, that thing just took off. Right away he switches and continues with his negative outlook and says, “They will never get it stopped. They will never get it stopped.”
Are you that type of person? I am not throwing any stones! I have been that Mr. Negative at times too. But I have also learned that faith is evidenced by two things.
If you want marital advice that works then you must learn from Ruth.
- What you say! Does it show faith?
I am working on this. Will you join me? I want my words to always reflect my faith in God! This will help my marriage, my family, my children and even my grandchildren to know that even in difficult moments, God never leaves us and that we can trust in him.
At one point in my life, I knew an insurance adjuster who told me the story of an older couple whose house was hit by a tornado. All they had was lost, and the coverage they had would not suffice to replace but just a fraction of what they had. He was astonished at their attitude. They smiled and held one another’s hands and said, It will be okay. We started out with less than this. We still have each other. They had peace.
And then, watch closely…
- What you do! Does it demonstrate faith?
What we do shows our deepest held beliefs. I want my actions to show I have faith. If all I ever do is speak faith, then my faith isn’t too deep. Ruth did more than just talk. She acted. She went out to get what little grain she could. Had she just stayed home, she would have never found herself in Boaz field. She would have never met him. The story would have ended there.
You may be thinking…okay so you are just saying, change my attitude to one of faith and hard times will fade away. At 57, I can assure you that troubles come and troubles go! Sometimes issues we face may linger for years. I am not denying any of that. I am just saying that having Ruth’s attitude of faith, doing what she can and trusting God with the rest worked for her. It has worked for me as well.
The end of their story turned out great. A baby, a home, happiness, and there was something so special God said, I think I will include this story of faith in the Bible, and make Ruth a part of the linage of Christ.
You can’t beat results. The attitude that Ruth had is the attitude will get us through the hard times!
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