To my fellow Christian husbands, here’s an age-old question: how can you attract the affection of your Christian wife?
You could try losing some weight. But that might be counter-productive as it was written long ago in ancient girl code that it’s “so not fair” to trim pounds more quickly than your beloved can. You could cook a special supper, arrange a date night, or bring home flowers (or chocolate … or both). But that just may set off your wife’s motive-meter a-blasting: ULTERIOR, ULTERIOR, ULTERIOR.
You could perform feats of physical strength so profound that, in the depleted aftermath, you don’t much care what she thinks of you. You could always make more money, but history is littered with the failed marriages of fellas who’ve tried that tactic.
So, again, I ask – How can you posture yourself so that your wife will find you attractive?
Let’s direct our attention an Old Testament gem — the book of Ruth. Guys, Boaz woke up one evening with a lovely, god-fearing woman lying at his feet begging him to marry her! We have to ask ourselves — How in the world did he pull that off? Let’s allow the Word of God to speak.
Before sketching the character of Boaz, we need to notice something the book takes pains not to say. The author never once mentions Boaz’s physique, looks, fashion, or any other outward attribute. The writer effectively foreshadows God’s assessment of Boaz’s great-grandson, David: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature … For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). And this literary feature makes the book applicable both to single and married men alike. Attraction can be temporarily accomplished with thin displays of hokey romanticism. Or it can be way of life, like it was for Boaz.
Men, are you prepared to accept that your believing wife is more mesmerized by the godliness of your soul than the trendiness of your hairstyle, the size of your waist, or the quantity of your 401K? But that’s the rub, isn’t it? Remaking our exterior is relatively simple compared to the long, hard slog of true godliness. That said, let’s sketch four points of character in this bachelor farmer that drew Ruth’s heart irresistibly to his.
1. Simple Faithfulness
After years of famine (1:1), God mercifully provided a bumper crop (1:6). If ever there was a year to hoard resources, to try to get ahead, or to use the plight of employees’ as a pretext for greed, it was this season. Yet, Boaz understood that if the prosperous suffered in the years of drought (1:21), how much more the poverty stricken? So, in his obedience to Leviticus 19:9-10, he opened the corners of his yield to both poor and alien residents (Ex. 22:21-24). And it was simple faithfulness to God’s Word that placed him smack in the path of God’s blessing.
Boaz’s dialogue is a marvel. His first recorded speech is a call for divine blessing upon his employees (2:4); his initial words to Ruth are prayers for her redemption (2:12a) and reassurances of God’s goodness (2:12b). The fact is, Boaz’s speech is so sincere as to be radical. Really, when is the last time your boss, even a Christian one, greeted you in the morning with an excited blessing? This type of speech flows only from a heart that meditates regularly on the God of grace and truth. We cannot bear the fruit of godly speech without first and foremost allowing the words of Christ to abide in us (John 15:4-7).
3. Sincere Kindness
Abiding in Christ creates far more than God-saturated speech, it produces kind thoughtfulness previously unknown to our preternaturally selfish hearts. Yes, Boaz was smitten, but the text gives the strong impression that these traits were by no means out of character: he had already opened his fields to the poor; staff lunch was happening with or without Ruth. When given the opportunity for something special, however, Boaz seized the moment by showering the widowed Moabite by caring for her most basic needs. He not only provided food and water, but was careful to quell her emotional insecurities: he assured Ruth’s physical safety (2:9) and supplied her with job security (2:8; 15-16). Men, let this encourage you — Boaz was no Don Juan. He met basic needs, he considered her feelings in a very guy way, and he refused the Knight-In-Shining-Armor syndrome (Ruth worked many long hours). And Ruth responded with eager pursuit.
4. Steadfast Resolution
In his faithfulness to Israel’s redemption laws, Boaz “risked” losing Ruth to a kinsman of nearer patrimony (3:12-13). Oh, how I pray for the steadfast confidence of Boaz. He so trusted the Almighty that no panic whatsoever caused him to manipulate or to compromise. No, Boaz models resolved wisdom to pursue God’s will in an utterly principled, thorough, and considerate manner (just read 4:1-12 for a master class in wisdom). Godly, male leadership that takes measured initiative, that displays profound wisdom, and that considers the interest of all involved not only comes exclusively from above (James 3:17), but breathes a sweet attractiveness to his bride (4:13).
Men, I don’t want to give the impression that godliness is merely a means to a desired end. It’s not. Nevertheless, we want our wives to be drawn to our masculinity and to respect us. The Biblical solution for gaining those treasures isn’t a one-off gesture, but committed godliness. Let God change you. Next thing you know, you’ll catch yourself playing with the kids, writing thoughtful notes, volunteering for service you once found bothersome, and responding with grace to trials that formerly sent you over the edge. Then, brother, you will discover that your believing wife has been drawn to you.
And if you don’t believe me (or the Word of God), just ask your wife.