Sixth and Last in a Series
The marriage of Ruth and Boaz described in the Old Testament book of Ruth was not the usual love story. They got married following a social convention of obligation and need, not romance. They had not known each other for long.
What did Boaz know about Ruth? He knew she had shown love and loyalty to Naomi, risking her own future happiness to care for her aging mother-in-law (Ruth 2:11). He knew she was respectful since she had asked permission to glean in his field (Ruth 2:7). He knew she was hardworking since she had arrived at the field first thing in the morning and worked hard all day (Ruth 2:7,17). He knew that, in seeking a husband, she was not looking for youthful good looks or money (Ruth 2:10). He knew that she had a good reputation as “a woman of noble character” (Ruth 2:11, 3:11)
What did Ruth know about Boaz? She knew that he had shown great kindness and compassion to her and Naomi. He let her glean in his field (Ruth 2:8,10,13), he gave her access to water (Ruth 2:9), he gave her lunch and let her keep the leftovers (Ruth 2:14-15), he told his men to leave extra for her to glean (Ruth 2:15-16), and he gave her more grain later on (Ruth 3:15). She knew he was a devout believer in God due to his repeated expressions of faith (Ruth 2:4,12, 3:10). Yet he was a realist who was well aware of the evil in the world and took steps to protect her (Ruth 2:8-9,15). She knew he was a man who could exercise self-control and act with integrity since he did not try to take advantage of her when she came to him in the night (Ruth 3:7-13). She knew he was careful to protect her reputation (Ruth 3:14). She knew he was a man who fulfilled his obligations and did not break rules, even if it meant losing her (Ruth 3:11-13). She also knew that her mother-in-law, who was older and more experienced, respected Boaz and encouraged the marriage.
Two people who were loving, kind, hardworking, and faithful—the prospects for this marriage were very good. Character is a much more important determinant of a happy and successful marriage than romance.