How to Have an Exemplary Marriage

In my post yesterday, 30 Bible Verses About Love, I spoke about how many couples are just going through the motions and not really having a great marriage. Today, I wanna talk about how to HAVE an extraordinary marriage so that we can avoid having a marriage that is not God honoring!

One day during prayer, I was praying about my long-term future in regards to service for Him and where God is leading me. I was contemplating whether or not to just choose to be single the rest of my life (it doesn’t seem like there’s any godly men out there and the ones who are godly, fail over and over and never do what they’re supposed to, which I don’t have time for. I want to continue to RUN for Christ with FIRE and to obey absolutely everything He says, even if it seems crazy or complex) or to want to be married.

The Holy Spirit pressed upon my heart to read the book of Ruth…that somehow, the answers I was looking for, was found within that story.

I have to say, I was GREATLY blessed by studying out the story! Much more than I ever anticipated!

In reading the story, studying it out in massive detail, and listening to a many sermons (here’s a great one to get you started), I learned a lot and I want to share that wisdom with you…as well as having a record online for myself, so that I never forget all the jewels I learned.

How to Have an Exemplary Marriage

The passage starts off with a woman who lost her husband, Ruth. Her mother-in-law (Naomi) had lost her husband as well some years ago and her mother-in-law told Ruth to go back to her native land in order that Ruth might be married again. But Ruth was determined to stay with her mother-in-law.

Immediately this caught me as a woman I could relate to. At the time, I felt like I could do more for God’s glory being single than I ever could do by being married. That I was destined to be single the rest of my life and that it was better (1 Corinthians 7:8).

Being married, you have so many more responsibilities as a wife…..cooking nice meals, cleaning, tending to your husband’s needs, and so much more. I bypass all of that, saving myself quite a bit of time that I can spend in my relationship with Christ.

I can read my Bible when I want to, listen to a sermon, or pray all day long if I want to and since no one’s going to see my not-perfectly-clean home or purposely make it impossible for me to spend time with God as my ex-husband often did, it doesn’t really matter.

But I realized that I was wrong in reading this story!

Because when you do find that right person for you (keyword: RIGHT!), they make you better (Proverbs 27:17). They make you a better Christian, they light your fire for Christ, keep you accountable to BE your best and it’s actually better to be married in that way, because you actually do serve Christ more, if you are BOTH highly committed to doing so.

In that moment, everything in my heart changed. Suddenly, I saw things differently and how a relationship, if rooted in the Lord, actually can strengthen my walk with Christ and the work I do for Him. And as long as my husband understands (and encourages) my private prayer time with the Lord and helps me in my service to the Lord, we will get along GREAT!

The other thing I can see so clearly is the love of Ruth for Naomi. How I long for the relationships of a mother-in-law and father-in-law. I really love the older generation. I connect with them quite well. They are my heart. I feel like this younger generation that I’m a part of, doesn’t respect their elders at all. You hear stories about how kids are shooting and killing their parents. How grandparents are being put away, far away, out of sight and mind.

And I think it’s one of the biggest tragedy’s in our culture today. Instead of revering the older generation, young people scoff at them, act like they don’t know anything, act like they are a bother to them. And it hurts my heart.

Older people have lived through so many trials and are still standing. They have so much wisdom and knowledge. They are more patient and kind and gentle. I think of one elderly woman in my church. Gosh, she is just so beautiful inside and out. I love her so much and she is so wise and loving. She’s always there to help, always there to care, always there to show love even when she’s hurting. Always there to serve, always has a smile on her face. I want to be like that.

When I’m older and have white hair, I want to be one of those women who are serving and loving on the younger generations, teaching them godly things, by example, with patience and love.

I can understand exactly why Ruth wanted to stay with her mother-in-law. The loyalty is there and I can connect with that so much, because I’m an extremely loyal person myself.

Her mother-in-law, seeing that Ruth wouldn’t give up, let her stay with her. They went back to the mother-in-law’s native country. Ruth began to work hard to gather food for her and Naomi. It’s such a beautiful picture of Ruth serving and caring for her mother-in-law.

She gathered grain from a field that happened to be owned by one of her relatives (God’s sovereign will). And my favorite part of the story, is when Boaz, the relative who owned the field said to Ruth in Ruth 2:11-12:

Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

Do you notice that? Boaz had been TOLD ALL about what she had done.

It makes me think about my own character and what people will say about me behind MY back. Will they say that my character abounds and that I’m a woman after God’s heart fully knowledgable in the Scriptures, or when someone brings false charges against me, will they believe the lies? Believing me to be someone I’m not.

How will people talk about you behind your back? What will they say? Will they say you are a great woman who fears the Lord and runs to obey Him? Or will they say, “Meh, I see her on Sundays, but I don’t really know that much about her.”

I want to live my life in such a way that people know about me before they meet me. Not in some self-honoring way, but that my reputation, my character is proven. It’s true and it’s 100% sold out to Jesus Christ. That people see the real me and know that I am genuine. That I genuinely love others and want to serve them. That I have sacrificed great things in my life in order to obey God and walk in His precepts and do so daily. That He is using me to accomplish His will in the lives of others because I set my life apart in the service of others for Him. What do you want to be known for?

Looking back at chapter 2, verse 23, we see that Ruth was gleaning grain from Boaz’s field for a period of about 2 months. Barley harvest usually began about mid-April and wheat harvest extended to mid-June. I think it’s important to note that we’re not looking at a story that took place over a time period of years and years.

Between the time Ruth and Boaz met and the time she asked him to honor the levirate redemption law (to marry her), was about 2 months. I don’t think this would be the norm for relationships today, but in this story, it really only took 2 months for both Boaz and Ruth to know that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, which makes their story all the more incredible! ❤️

It’s also important to note that Boaz never called into question Ruth’s character. When you think about it, it must have seemed strange to him…

All the sudden this woman shows up out of nowhere and two months later, asks him to redeem her. Boaz could have easily thought that she had the whole thing planned from the beginning in some evil and wicked plot. SOMEhow, he knew this was not the case. She was innocent in that regard and things just happened the way they did by God’s sovereign will and not by Ruth’s cunning plots.

You see the godly character of both Boaz and Ruth. Boaz wanting to do the right thing, makes sure there is no one else that can marry her before he does (which is a whole nother story in of itself really).

In that way, you can see how he gives the whole situation over to the Lord and does not act based on emotion, though it’s clear he cares for her because he gives her even more food, an entire 60-80 pounds of food in fact (!) along with his most highest promise. And Ruth, could have had her pick of men her own age, but chose not to. She chose a man who was much different in age than her because he was a godly man. 

My friends, our culture tells us that age matters, but in God’s sight, it doesn’t.

Ruth would rather have been with a godly man than to be with someone else and this speaks volumes of HER true character as well. She desired a godly man above all else, even above men her own age with riches and good looks. Because being godly is supreme to all of that.

In fact, I know a very prominent couple that is 16 years apart in age and they have an absolutely beautiful marriage and literally can’t keep their hands off of each other (don’t tell them I said that!) What it comes down to is the heart and they clearly love each other according to God’s design in all ways. And just in case you’re tempted to think they are newlyweds, they’ve been married over 10 years and still going strong!!!

In the commentary of my study Bible (I use the MacArthur Study Bible), under verse 3:11, it says this, “In all respects, Ruth personifies excellence (cf. Prov. 31:10). This same language has been used of Boaz (“a man of great wealth” or more likely “a man of valor” in 2:1), thus making them the perfectly matched couple for an exemplary marriage.”

When I read this, my mouth dropped to the floor in awe.

That’s the answer!!!

The way to have an exemplary marriage is to BE and to choose a husband for yourself who is a godly man. That’s the foundation of it ALL!

An exemplary marriage cannot come if just ONE person is godly and the other is worldly. If just ONE person in the marriage is on fire for Christ and the other is “meh.”

To have a truly exemplary marriage, BOTH must be on fire for God, making each other BETTER for Christ, serving each other out of love for the other and for Christ.

And I have to say this boldly and confidently, that this type of marriage is worth waiting for!

Don’t marry for passions or because he’s handsome and seems nice. Marry someone for their godliness, for their holiness!!!!!! Choose for yourself, the most godliest of men! In order to GET a man who rushes to obey the Lord at any cost, you must also BE that type of woman! So work hard on becoming the woman God expects you to be and do not make excuses to live a life any less than your full strength running for Christ.

The end of the story is that Boaz and Ruth do marry and give birth to Obed, which becomes David’s grandpa, which our Lord and Savior was born from the lineage. It’s also speculated that Ruth is the woman who is spoken of in Proverbs 31 as the excellent wife. 

After really delving into the study of Ruth and Boaz, I realize that I have a lot more in common with Ruth than I previously thought, and that it is always my desire to be the Proverbs 31 woman as I live my life in full obedience to the One that created me.

Each day, we should strive to be more and more like our Maker in every way. We should strive to put our husband first (not above God, but first on earth) as he is THE most important person in our lives here on earth.

Marriage takes a lot of hard work, but to have an extraordinary marriage, we must work hard to be the kind of woman our husband would choose over and over again, every single day of his life. 

We must fight temptations of things and people around us and cultivate in our marriage a sense of love, deep respect, and mutual satisfaction. 

I also learned that God always knows just what I need to hear at the exact moment I need to hear it. He opened my heart that day in a way that only He could; giving me a new desire in my heart.

He showed me I was wrong and marriage could be a massive blessing, not a hinderance in my Christian walk. He taught me SO much that day about myself and about Him. Prayer is an incredibly important part of a believer’s walk and that day, He answered my prayer almost instantly!

I hope that this post has encouraged you and that you will take the time to study out the book of Ruth in the Bible for yourself, because there truly are a lot of treasures to be found within its pages! It is absolutely vital for the Christian to be doing deep dive studies all the time, into the Word of God. 

You can study Scripture out by person, by topic, etc. I’ve done deep dives on David, on Ruth and Boaz, certain chapters of the Bible like Psalm 23 and by topics like patience and love. There’s no wrong way to study the Bible, but we must be putting studying Scripture at the forefront of our lives in order to be sanctified more and more each and every day. 

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