Sunday, February 27, 2011
The Book of Ruth Lends Dating Advice
At Cache' Connections, we are constantly asked by female members if it is acceptable for them to make the first move. Most women prefer to wait for the men to send the first message, claiming they want to be pursued. While there is nothing wrong with men pursuing women and women wanting to be pursued, we believe by and large that this is a cultural norm that has somehow been assumed to be biblically based. We have not found anywhere in the Bible that women should not pursue men, although we know it is clear that men are to be the spiritual leaders of the household after marriage. (See Eph. 5: 22-24)
The Book of Ruth reveals some interesting insights on the topics of "dating and mating." If you are not familiar with the story, I encourage you to take a little time to read it. It's a beautiful story of Ruth's selfless devotion to her desolate mother-in-law Naomi. But it's a story full of other points for us to ponder.
First, although Naomi and her husband were Israelites, they moved to the country of Moab, where their sons both married Moabite women, one of which was Ruth. This is worth noting because eventually Ruth remarried Boaz and became the great-grandmother of King David and part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. So this answers the question of interracial marriage, in our humble opinion. Taking that one step further, it seems to affirm that remarriage after the death of a spouse is acceptable in God's eyes.
Second, you will see in the third chapter that Naomi encourages Ruth to "wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes." So much for "he should like me for who I am on the inside." See our previous blog titled, "If you want to catch a fish ..."
Third, reading further, Noami instructed Ruth to go find Boaz at the threshing floor (a very forward move because women weren't normally present at the evening revelries of the threshers) and after he was lying down, to find him and go and uncover his feet and lie down there. So, we could view Naomi as a matchmaker or coach of sorts.
Fourth, it seems that Ruth took this one step further and asked a startled Boaz to spread the corner of his garment over her, since he was a kinsman-redeemer (meaning he had the primary responsibility to marry a widow). The act of spreading the corner of a garment was and still is practiced in parts of the Middle East today, and is a request for marriage. How's that for pursuing a man?
Finally, there was a notable age difference between Boaz and young Ruth. While this is something we at Cache' Connections don't particularly promote, I would be remiss for not pointing it out.
We encourage females to feel free to be the first one to say hello, then leave room for the male to take it from there. As relationship experts will tell you, a healthy male dater will go to great lengths to pursue a woman that he is interested in. But sometimes, guys need a little encouragement and guidance to think outside of the box :)