Sermons

Summary: Part three of a three part series on Marriage

This morning we start with a game of charades. I have three volunteers who will perform a charade of a cartoon character (Bugs Bunny), a TV show (The Price is Right), and a member of this congregation (myself).

Each volunteer will have two minutes to perform his or her charade. If, after two minutes, no one correctly guesses the charade, I will reveal the correct answer.

A couple of ground rules: 1.The performer will use no sounds at all. 2. The performer will be limited to actions only but can tell you the number of words in the title, person, or character’s name by holding up the correct number of fingers. Ready?

(Perform charades.)

Since I was not sure how well you would respond to the clues, I made some assumptions. One assumption I made is that there would be recognition of a recognizable trait that would enable you to guess correctly the charade. Another assumption that I made is that you would assume because of the time element that the example would be easily recognized.

I also assumed that because of the ease of familiarity with the examples, that the charades would be easily communicated. This brings me to my main point for this morning – the importance and place of communication in marriage.

This is the final sermon of our three part series on marriage, “Marriage…For All the Right Reasons.”

We have spent the last three weeks looking at the Biblical story of Boaz and Ruth from the Old Testament book of Ruth. The first week we focused on “Falling in Love for All the Right Reasons” and we examined the important issue of character in the marriage (and potential marriage) relationship. We also noticed from the Biblical account that Boaz and Ruth’s character were strong and God-centered and out of that they had a strong base upon which to be build a great relationship and marriage.

Last week we focused on “Staying in Love for All the Right Reasons” and we examined the important issue of commitment in marriage. We noticed that through the customs and culture of that day both Boaz and Ruth expressed appropriate commitments to one another.

(Next Sunday is Memorial Day and while we will be honoring the memory of those who have died in service to county, we also will begin a four-week session on family life, entitled “God is in the Small Stuff of Families.” The first sermon is entitled, “God is in the Memories of Families.”)

Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “There are two kinds of people in this world: one who is always ten minutes early and one who is always ten minutes late.” He is quoted as also saying, “They’re always married to each other!”

Twain’s quote highlights the truth of opposites and the attraction that happens between them. Think about it for a moment. Think about your spouse or a good friend. What are some of the “opposites” or differences that are a part of that person’s make up?

Part of the attraction we have is due to the differences. However, those “opposites” after awhile can create problems and conflicts in the relationship. Which requires us to learn the important skills of conflict resolution and communication.

There were differences in Boaz and Ruth. Aside from the obvious ones of gender, they were of different nationalities because Boaz was an Israelite and Ruth was a Moabite. They had differing roles in their lives – Boaz was an employer and Ruth was an employee. (Which can create problems in the workplace.)

Communication is a critical skill that can be developed. In fact, in the grid of the twenty-dimensions of compatibility eharmony.com founder Neil Warren has discovered, communication is one of the twenty-nine labeled “Skills that can be developed.” There are two others as well in this group: conflict resolution and sociability.

(By the way, in an interview on usatoday.com this past Thursday, (May 19, 2005) Neil Warren indicated that he will put up and online marriage assessment sometime this fall for married couples to use.)

An important question comes to mind regarding communication, “What is it that needs to be communicated with one’s spouse (or spouse-to-be) or friend?” What do we learn from Boaz and Ruth? Some very important things that is critical for a healthy marriage.

In our text for this morning, we see that Boaz and Ruth:

Communicate respect and dignity to each other

Boaz speaks first and the words that come out of his mouth express respect and dignity to Ruth and her situation. “Stay here and gather from our fields… Follow the other women by watching where they go to harvest… I have warned the young men not to bother you… Take a drink from our water when you need it.”

Boaz, because of his character and faith, expressed that character and faith as he spoke to Ruth. He communicated that she was valued and valuable. In other words, she was viewed as a person not an object of sexual desire or just a worker.

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