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Single Men and Godly Dating - Are You a Boaz?

Dating can offer so many benefits and rewards but it can also be a source of heartache, confusion, and disillusionment. In recent years, the ministry has made a concerted effort to provide singles activities, hospitality hour, Bible Studies and other such venues at the Feast of Tabernacles as a means of promoting fellowship with one another. However, many single men in God's church lament that they are unable to find a suitable mate. What some fail to consider is that perhaps their dating techniques and approaches may be the problem and are in need of a major overhaul. So, how can you revolutionize your dating techniques to reflect a more positive outcome? After all, is not marriage the reason so many embark upon this modern ritual? One need only go as far as the Book of Ruth for the answers, as it offers one of the most compelling stories of courtship and selfless love ever written. While Boaz' and Ruth's relationship offers profound spiritual insights between Christ' and His church, the same aspects can be implemented within your dating relationships while at the feast or at anytime.

1. Take God on your date(s). Let Him be the center or core of everything you think, say and do. Date with the idea in mind of what you can give, not what you can get. Boaz clearly demonstrated this in his dealings with Ruth when he charged his overseers that she be allowed to glean in his fields.
Ruth 2:8, 14-16.

2. Be a leader who demonstrates integrity, honor, and genuine out-going concern for others. A quality man starts with quality on the inside. There is a vast difference between being a man of character and "being a character". For many years, Mr. Zimmerman, Sr. often began his feast sermons by asking, "What is your name?" So, when someone mentions your name, what character attributes do you think will come to mind? Boaz was a type of redeemer, protector and helper of their (Ruth and Naomi) joy, which in effect typifies Jesus Christ. In essence, Boaz was a Proverbs 31 man and well known for having a good reputation. Ruth 2:20.

3. Approach a lady with respect and with honorable intentions in mind. Are you someone she can trust to treat her right and keep her safe? Sadly, some ladies have been the unfortunate recipients of some very uncomplimentary advances even within God's church. Men need to realize that women can easily be hurt emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually by such actions. A minister once said, "Leave your date in better shape than you found her", which is so unlike the values of our society that does not adhere to any boundaries or moral guidelines. Real love seeks not its own way, and esteems others better than themselves (I Cor. 13:5, Phil. 2:3). Boaz understood these principles and was careful to maintain a respectable distance to avoid dishonoring Ruth, thus preserving or protecting her integrity and reputation as a virtuous woman.
(Ruth 2:9, 3:9, 11, 14).

4. Be willing to make the first move in getting to know a woman. Take the lead by introducing yourself and starting a pleasant conversation. Men do not realize it, but from a woman's point of view, taking the lead is a very attractive masculine quality. However, note that taking the lead is not synonymous with being over controlling. Consider that God and Christ took the initiative in "calling us" yet gives us the freedom on whether to accept that calling. (John 6:44, Mark 4:14-20). Even Naomi took notice that Boaz was extending more attention and favor to Ruth than the other gleaners thus unmasking his growing feelings of affection for her, yet it was not until later that she accepted his advances. (Ruth 2:22, 3:4, 9). So, give your newfound relationship time to grow (Mark 4:28-29). Since the barley and wheat harvests lasted about 4-5 months, more than likely Boaz and Ruth saw each other on a daily basis and in a variety of circumstances before committing themselves to one another.

5. Respect her right to say no, and accept it in a dignified manner. Rejection is never easy to take, however, consider that there may be many reasons for her decision. Perhaps she is recovering from a broken relationship and needs a period of adjustment and healing before moving on with her life. Maybe she is rather shy or is just not interested, which is perfectly OK. Rather than giving her some space, some incessantly call her, try to monopolize her time, or even go overboard with compliments with the hope that she will change her mind. These negative approaches are overwhelming to a woman and will cause her to want to avoid you. Remember, you have an advocate, Jesus Christ, who understands all too well what it feels like to be rejected so you do not have to deal with it alone. (Isa. 53:3).

6. Make peace with your past. Life is not always fair, and perhaps many have experienced broken relationships and even had to deal with the scourge of divorce. This is not the time to "go on the rebound" as a means of authenticating oneself. Instead, spend time in self-reflection and introspection and determine to get rid of the baggage that impedes progress. (James 1:24-25). Remember, how you exit one relationship may determine your success or failure in future interactions.

7. Be financially stable and secure. Since dating can and many times does lead to marriage, do you make enough money to support a wife and family? Can you hold down a steady job and do you manage your money well without being stingy? God intended that the husband be responsible for taking care of his family's needs, not the other way around (I Tim. 5:8). When he abdicates that responsibility to his wife - it puts a great deal of stress and burden on her thus creating resentment and you run the risk sowing the seeds of divorce. Do not mistakenly assume that her interest in your financial health is somehow equated with being a "gold-digger" who is only interested in a "6 figure" income. Believe it or not, she is more interested in having you home at night than working at all hours just to maintain an opulent life-style devoid of your love and time. She has a right to know the financial facts before she commits herself and her future children to your care. They want to feel safe and secure in knowing you will adequately take of them as you promised. Did not Christ promise this when He said "I will never leave you nor forsake you"? (John 14:18, Heb. 13:5).

8. Seek wise counsel. Do not hesitate to seek counseling from older, wiser men in the congregation who have a well-known positive track record of respecting and honoring their wives and children (Prov. 1:5). In addition, there is a wealth of Christian books on the subject of courtship and dating that are biblically accurate that could prove invaluable in your quest in finding and treating that special someone "special."

In conclusion, do not let that special someone pass you by simply because you failed to do your homework. Instead, be a leader like Boaz, who exhibited the characteristics of honor, character, and high moral standards. Always keep in mind, "to handle yourself, use your head, to handle others use your heart". God will see to it you are rewarded for your efforts, so wait for Him to provide the best. Do not let hesitancy and fear of commitment rob you of the opportunity to meet and make friends with someone who could be "the one". You will never know what can be accomplished, unless you try, as the "path of no risk is the biggest risk of all".

©2002 United Church of God, an International Association
Used with permission.

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