Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of quotes written by single women about “waiting for Boaz.”
Some are witty, others so deep I’ve wondered why I wasn’t as wise when I was single?
But some posts left a little twist of discomfort, perhaps – especially – because of the large number of women clicking the “like” and “love” buttons.
Before we dive in: if you are an email subscriber, apologies for not posting a new article last week. I had a little glitch on my website which prevented me from uploading a new post.
Today’s post is geared towards my single readers; I have a ton of you reading and learning and I just want to encourage your love life today.
Waiting for Boaz?
If you are unfamiliar with the saying, waiting for Boaz refers to waiting for the right, God-ordained, man for marriage.
The idea of Boaz comes from the book of Ruth in the Bible, where Ruth, a widowed foreigner meets and marries a kind gentleman, named Boaz who also happens to be a distant relative of her mother in law. You can read the story here.
I have no problem with the idea of “waiting for Boaz.” Its godly and classy.
What I have a problem with, is the version of Boaz prescribed by a selection of women.
The man is perfect.
He anticipates and meets all his girlfriend’s needs. He pursues her flawlessly; never has a moment of doubt “because a man of God knows when he finds his good thing.”
He seems to know most of the Bible and has the perfect delivery. He is 100 percent ready to take on the responsibility of a wife and family. He accepts all her friends and is taken by most of her idiosyncrasies.
And women are loving it. Loving the idea of not settling i.e not marrying a man who is in-process because they believe doing so is settling for less than they deserve.
So they have a rather long list of desirable qualities and they will not dip a toe outside these wishes.
But here’s the truth; everyone who gets married marries a “not-yet-arrived” spouse. In other words (more bluntly), everyone settles. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all.
Indeed, God wants the best for us and of course I want my single friends to aspire to marry great men; men who truly love God and have fruit to show. (see Galatians 5:19-26 John 15: 5)
But perfect men do not exist. The person you date and eventually marry will be flawed.
In fact, when you think about it, the original Boaz and his beloved Ruth were not the “perfect match.”
Boaz said “for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor ” Ruth 3:10 Meaning he did not consider himself the greatest prospect for young beautiful Ruth. Furthermore, someone else was in line to marry Ruth.
My husband and I are familiar with “imperfect match.”
Before we started going out, we had a lot going on in our individual lives. I had just ended a disappointing friendship with another guy, and I was done with men and relationships (or so said my heart.) I was a broken mash having lost my dad around the same time.
And Tommy, a distant friend at that time, had said “no” to anything more than a friendship two years earlier (You can read our story in my book Blues to Bliss:Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years).
He had a lot going on in his life too. And so both of us were in this place of “we-cannot-happen”.
But after much thought and prayer and consulting with our individual mentors, we got a go-ahead to start an exclusive friendship and figure out if we were meant to be together.
And I began to fall in love with him.
And the more I got to know him the more I learned about his love for God and his desire to honor me and the relationship. Alongside that though, I got acquainted with his human side.
He was imperfect. He listened to me, but he asked crazy questions (because has a curious case of analyzing.)
And he had thoughtful opinions on how to treat my colleagues and how I could better manage my time and how it was probably time to find a different job.
And he wasn’t the kind to call on the phone and pray with me.
He didn’t like the same music I liked, and his favorite t-shirt was an atrocity to my eyes. He was hardworking, but he wasn’t loaded. Neither was I. Our entire wedding was a faith project.
My Boaz was dressed in overalls and looked a lot like work. As was his “Ruth.”
It’s important to accept that your Boaz will not have it all together.
Everyone gets married to an imperfect not-yet-there spouse.
Of course, standards are essential, and we must establish our “deal-breakers” way in advance. (The wise person runs these deal-breakers by God and listens to mentors, just to make sure they are not vain or silly)
A deal-breaker might be a guy who goes to church because you go to church; he doesn’t have his own relationship with God and has no fruit to show in his life. See Galatians 5:19-26 John 15: 5
A deal-breaker might be poor work ethic; he lives off others and is trying to live off you. A deal-breaker might be pressuring you to have sex or push boundaries.
A deal breaker might be unhealed past wounds or unrepentant sin that make it impossible for him to grow a healthy relationship.
These standards are essential.
But then there are negotiables – traits you can live without or learn to accept.
Like the amount of money he has in the bank. The breed or sophistication of his family. His younger age (of course just make sure the age difference isn’t an actual problem – maturity and number of years are two different things)
Or he goes to a different church or wears wrong color combination or his level of education.
But Ngina, doesn’t my wish list matter? Doesn’t the Bible tell me that God delights to give good gifts to his children and his blessing has no sorrow?
I understand the wish list. I had one. At one point it had 26 points. I carried it in my purse for a long time.
But as I matured, I started to separate negotiables from non-negotiables and lay that little list before Jesus. Now married for almost nine years, I can tell you that God gave me more than I could have imagined or asked.
My 26 points are NOTHING compared to what God gave me.
So your wish list might include a prosperous husband, but God might bring a man who is just starting his career or business. But as you work together and build a life, the wealth you desire will come.
Boaz might come in mismatched clothes and bad breath, but as you become a thoughtful helpmeet, you both transform into delightful people.
Please hear my heart.
I want you to choose wisely and to wait on God.
I encourage you to dream big; God is not shocked by genuine desires.
But also understand that a blessing might not look like a blessing at first. Sometimes it comes in the raw, and we have to be patient and trust God.
It might be packaged in a different personality than the one we asked for. It might come from the other side of town. Or church. It might come from right under your nose, someone you have known for a long time but ignored in your search for Boaz.
Should your future boyfriend be a man after God’s heart? He better be.
But chasing after God is not the same as completely perfect. A good man is one who is running after God, with fruit to show. And a good woman is chasing after God with fruit to show too. Don’t ask your man to do the work you are not willing to do.
Seeking God with all your heart, getting into the Word daily, talking to God without ceasing, plugged into a church and serving, having a life and friends of your own are characteristics of a woman following hard after God.
Because you know the problem with unreal expectations?
The problem with imaginary Boaz is that we carry this same thinking to marriage and cry foul when we uncover the human being.
But had we accepted that perfect men/boyfriends/fiancés don’t exist, we would have a far easier time accepting our husbands and growing together.
Here are other helpful posts
Question – What do you think? What was your experience dating/courtship? If you are single, what’s the best (or worst!) piece of advice you’ve received about developing a God-honoring friendship? Let’s talk in comments.