Not sure why the number 8 has been so special recently. I wrote a post last week about 8 Practical thoughts on Corporate Singing, and now it’s 8 Marriage Principles. Nothing magical about the number 8! It’s just how it all shook out.
Our church has been going through the book of Ruth in 2018 and it has been a tremendous blessing. This short Old Testament narrative is a wonderful book that does not require extraneous effort from its readers to see that the great redeemer we truly need is King Jesus. Jesus is the greater Boaz redeeming His people from their sins. He is the greater Ruth, clinging to His people in steadfast love and faithfulness even when we are bitter and hard-hearted. He is the greater Naomi, who bids us to seek Him and find rest for our weary souls in Himself.
And there are many other wonderful truths we see in the book of Ruth. We see Ruth’s faithfulness and loyalty in the midst of the wicked time period known as the days of the Judges. We see God’s grace to foreigners, showing us that even in the Old Testament the true people of God were those of faith. We see Boaz’s kindness as one who is a follower of Yahweh. We see the Lord’s patience with His people even when they go astray. And, getting to today’s post, I think we learn some principles about marriage.
Now, I don’t mean to suggest that Ruth is a “marriage handbook.” That’s not why it was written. But I do mean to say that I think we can glean some important points about marriage from Ruth 3:10-18 that we would be wise to heed. So, while these points are not the “main points” of the text itself, they still are truths we can learn and glean in order to help better uphold the glorious institution of marriage with ironclad, biblical fidelity.However, Paul makes it clear that a Believer should not marry an unbeliever and I think more attention should be given to this in our current evangelical culture. Click To Tweet
1. Spiritual Compatibility Matters in Marriage
In Ruth 3:11 the Moabitess is referred to as a “worthy woman”. This is the same Hebrew word used in Ruth 2:1 where Boaz is referred to as a “worthy man.” This is not a coincidence. The author of the book has intentionally clued the readers in that both Ruth and Boaz are worthy.
In the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, these two people lived lives of faith in Yahweh that showed forth practically in their daily interactions. They were kind, loyal, hardworking, and sought to honor the Lord with their lives. These were evidences of God’s grace upon them.
Too many people relegate this principle of marriage to the back burner. Many people care more about things such as “do we enjoy the same hobbies?” more thanspiritual compatibility. Special care should be given in premarital counseling that both the groom-to-be and bride-to-be love the Lord; not that they “profess” to be a Christian, but that they truly love the Lord and that such love for Him shows itself forth in their daily lives.
No, I’m not suggestion marriage is only for mature believers. Babes in Christ can get married too! However, Paul makes it clear that a Believer should not marry an unbeliever and I think more attention should be given to this in our current evangelical culture.
2. Long Engagements are Unnecessary and can be Dangerous
I say this as a general rule. I know some readers will look for the exceptions. The prolonged hospitalization by the man or woman that necessitates a long engagement. The military deployment that creates a situation whereby the couple must wait. But, as a general rule, long engagements are not necessary and also can be dangerous.
Ruth proposes to Boaz in 3:10 to which Boaz responds with a “yes” (sort of, more like probably!). Ruth and Boaz, like literally thousands (millions!?) of couples throughout the history of mankind, did not require a long engagement in order to tie the knot.
One of my favorite stories about my wife’s grandmother is when she met her future husband and got married just a few weeks later. Her and her husband had a long, fruitful marriage. Ruth and Boaz had a fruitful marriage (we don’t know how long it was of course). And thousands (millions!?) of couples throughout the history of mankind have had long and fruitful marriages that were not preceded by long engagements.
I am not advocating that you get on the latest dating site and propose to someone you don’t even know. It’s important to get to know one another. Ruth and Boaz saw one another over the period of about 2 months (I’m not saying this is the “standard” amount of time). But often a young man and woman of marriageable age are pressured by those around them to put off marriage for as long as possible. In many cases, this is not a good thing.
Long engagements are unnecessary. Furthermore, they can be dangerous. They can be dangerous, especially in our day, because of the temptation to join together physically before marriage. Sexual sin is dangerous. It is playing with fire. Long engagements are a dangerous temptation for couples to think “Well, we are getting married anyway…there’s no harm in enjoying one another physically right now.” Let me talk about this more in my next point (next post).
Before we get to that, let me plead with you to drop the myriad of poor excuses for long engagements. “I need to finish college.” “We need to have $25,000 in savings.” “We get to know each other better (these 3 years haven’t been enough).” If college is that important to you, then why are you engaged? I don’t mean to suggest college isn’t important, but if you need to be so focused on your studies that you can’t be married, then you shouldn’t be engaged either. And I don’t mean to say that money isn’t important (as I’ll show you in point 4). But don’t use money as an excuse to prolong an engagement. If you weren’t ready to marry, then why did you propose?
And getting to know one another is important. But you won’t really get to know one another until you’re married! We make an idol out of “compatibility” in our day. This may shock you, but any unmarried Christian man is compatible with any unmarried Christian woman because of Christ! Some may have to work much harder at a vibrant relationship than others because of differing interests in non-essential matters, but don’t buy into the lie that you’ve got to “see if you were ‘meant to be’” or whatever junk is currently being sold on the cultural market. Furthermore, as you are married, you’ll find that your interests will begin to overlap as you pursue Christ together. I’m not trying to make this sound easier than it is, but I am trying to kill the false narratives about love, soulmates, compatibility, and the like that are floating around in our culture today.
That’s it for this post…More to come.