– Written by Dee

At the naïve age of 18, I sat down to make a list that I named “The Standard.” Sounds pretentious now and somewhat audacious but this list described my ideal man. Having just arrived on campus for my first year of college, I already had a good idea of who I wanted to fall in love with and marry eventually.

When I skim through the long list of my standard, I find myself smiling at how relevant some of those attributes for my future husband are still to me. Tall, dark and handsome were only a few traits I scripted and highlighted on paper. His character was first on my list. I wanted a shy, quirky guy that stood for what he believed in and was as stubborn as I could be sometimes. He would love children, could play a mean guitar and had an interesting laugh that always made me smile, even when we were fighting… Now at the age of 26, I still hold on to some of those traits.

What’s on your list for the perfect man? Is he tall with strong legs and broad shoulders, does he have a lilting tenor voice or a resonating bass? Is he dark with smooth shiny skin or light as caramel? Is his hair curly and brilliant with sheen or maybe he has no hair at all? Are you into the shy and sensitive, or brash and honest? Do you prefer a man that is the oldest son or the youngest child? Do you want a man that loves children and family or could you care less?

Mull over this for a second.  Is he protective, well-spoken, thoughtful of your feelings, and worthy of your love? Let’s face it. We are searching and waiting for a modern-day great man to come into our lives by God’s divine plan and no help from coincidental circumstances. We all want men that waste little to no time courting us intentionally, ones who are rarely afraid to protect and love.

While recently thinking on the book of Ruth, there was a man named Boaz in Ruth 2 who was aptly described as an influential man who also believed in the Lord. How about that for the perfect wish list on an E-harmony application? “I want a man that is influential and believes in the Lord.” I’ll be honest. Whenever I thought of the word influential, I picture a bald short man in a three-piece suit throwing money at people with a wide, flashy grin on his face.

Yet the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary appropriately describes an influential individual as one who exerts or possesses the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command. It’s a mouthful but it means Boaz was a man that did not need to force his authority or command it. His peers acknowledged his influence, his authority… probably because of his character, which you can read about in the Book of Ruth. His thoughtfulness toward his workers, his social skills when it boiled down to fellowshipping with the community, to his selflessness with those around him. To those who watched him, he was a good, worthy and admirable man who deserved their respect and admiration. One cannot self-adopt that title of being influential and honorable; it has to be earned by approval of their peers. Peers who saw and worked and lived near that person, living life without pretense. Essentially, Boaz was indisputably a worthy and honorable man.

In many ways, Ruth’s Boaz fits our description for the perfect man in the sense that he was not only honorable in character but protective, observant, compassionate and selfless in deed. Before Ruth even came along, his character traits were consistent and no one but Naomi and Ruth made note of such a great man. It doesn’t mean that the community wasn’t aware of his great personality but that they were used to him. He didn’t change just because a beautiful lady suddenly showed up at his workplace. Think about it. Be observant. Watch his peers. Are his friends as surprised as you are about him?

Sure, it’s good that you’re a positive influence on him but if he’s changing solely because he’s trying to “catch” you, something doesn’t sit well. What if he’s done fishing and you’ve caught the bait, will his true character return or is his change genuine? It’s a gamble and it’s up to you whether or not to take that chance. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your presence cannot affect the way he sees or reacts to life, or that his habits change. But if EVERYTHING about him is different a few days before you met, it’s either Jesus himself appeared before him and he was transformed, or… well, I’ll leave the conclusion to you.

Right now, I’m still traveling on this journey with you. Finding Boaz isn’t easy but with God’s help, it’ll be worth it, right?

<<Prose || Part 2>>