Summary: This sermon completes the principles of marriage found in the book of Ruth. This is principles 5 through 8.

February 29, 2004 Ruth 3:1 – 4:22

“Making marriage work”


A young couple decided to wed. As the big day approached, they grew apprehensive. Each had a problem they had never before shared with anyone, not even each other. The groom decided to ask his father for advice. "Dad", he said, "I am deeply concerned about the success of my marriage. I love my fiancée, very much, but you see, I have very smelly feet, and I’m afraid that my future wife will be put off by them." "No problem," said dad. "All you have to do is wash your feet as often as possible, and always wear socks, even to bed." The bride-to-be took her problem up with her mom. "Mom," she said, "When I wake up in the morning my breath is truly awful." "Honey," her mother consoled, "everyone has bad breath in the morning." "No, you don’t understand. My morning breath is so bad, I’m afraid that my new husband will not want to sleep in the same room with me." Her mother said simply, "Try this. In the morning, get straight out of bed, and head for the bathroom and brush your teeth. The key is, not to say a word until you’ve brushed your teeth. Not a word," her mother affirmed.

The loving couple was finally married in a beautiful ceremony. Not forgetting the advice each had received, he with his perpetual socks and she with her morning silence, they managed quite well. That is, until about six months later. Shortly before dawn, the husband woke with a start to find that one of his socks had come off. Fearful of the consequences, he frantically searched the bed. This, of course, woke his bride, who, without thinking, immediately asked, "What on earth are you doing?"

"Oh, no!" he gasped in shock, "You’ve swallowed my sock!" -

The issues that this young couple struggled with may not be a problem in your marriage, but every marriage has its own set of struggles – those things that prevent the marriage from being all that God intended it to be. I believe with all my heart that God desires every marriage to be a success. He wants them to be filled with joy. He wants them to be filled with love. He wants them to work. And I believe that He has given us all the resources that we need in order to make our marriages work. The most effective resource that we have for working marriages is the Bible and the truth recorded there. Last week, in chapters 1 and 2 of the book of Ruth, we discovered 4 principles of working marriages.

If you really want your marriage to work, you have to...

1. Meet needs - (1:1- 5)

2. Stick together - (1:6 - 23)

3. Work hard - (2:1- 7)

4. Show appreciation - (2:8 - 23)

At the end of today’s message, you are going to have a chance to put some of these principles into practice before you leave the building. We’re going to have a wedding ceremony today. Every couple here, if you choose to participate, will have the chance to say your vows and commit your love to your spouse all over again. Be thinking about that as we take a look at the second half of the book of Ruth.

5. Seize opportunities - (3:1- 9)

In chapter 1, we met Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons. The family had moved to the land of Moab in order to meet their needs because there was a famine in Israel. In this foreign land, Naomi’s sons married Moabite women – Ruth and Orpah. And in this foreign land where they had gone to see their needs met, all three men in the family died. The situation was desperate. Naomi and Ruth headed back to Bethlehem when they heard that the famine was over. There in Bethlehem, Ruth met a man named Boaz. He was kind to her and allowed her to work in his fields to harvest the grain that his workers had missed. Ruth continued working in Boaz’s fields for about 6 weeks which is about how long it took for the barley and wheat harvest to be completed. Every day, she would get up early and head to the field. And every night, she would come home late with a basket full of grain. Though the work was hard and the hours long, Naomi never once heard a complaint out of Ruth’s mouth. In fact, there seemed to be a glimmer in her eye every night. Naomi was no dummy. She could see the signs. Ruth was falling in love with Boaz. Ruth had been working hard to meet Naomi’s needs. It was time now for Naomi to help meet Ruth’s needs. It was time for her to play matchmaker. [read 3:1- 4]

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