This is part 3 in our study on the book of Ruth. By studying Ruth 3, we can discover at least 5 principles for a woman to help her know how to invite a man to pursue her.
Ruth 3:1-2, “Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.’”
Principle 1: Let the man God has for you identify himself before you invite him to pursue you.
Before a woman should focus on “how” to get man to pursue her, she must first spend a lot of time and energy identifying the right man. Notice that Ruth and Naomi didn’t walk into Bethlehem and say, “Okay, so who’s eligible? Who should we target?”
No, they let God identify Boaz for them. As you will see, Naomi and Ruth do become very proactive, but they took their time to identify the right man for Ruth. Too often a woman gets attached to what she hopes this man is like rather than letting this man actually show her what he is actually like. Ruth did take proactive steps to invite Boaz to pursue her. But she did this in chapter 3 of their story, not in chapters 1 or 2.
So before you start inviting a man to pursue you, give him time to reveal his character first.
Ruth 3:3-9, “‘Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.’ And she replied, ‘All that you say I will do.’
So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, ‘Who are you?’ And she answered, ‘I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.’”
Principle 2: Invite him to pursue you by arousing his role as the pursuer.
Modern women aren’t going to like this advice. But I’m going to share it with you because I’m not making this article for modern minded women. I making this content for women who want to know what the Bible says about God’s design for romance between a man and woman.
God has made men and women equally important, of equal value, but with different roles in the relationship. A woman has a beauty that arouses the man’s strength. She has the ability to motivate the man to movement but it is the man who has the strength to move the barriers blocking him from this woman. She must not pursue the man. The man must pursue her. If a woman does pursue the man, it actually pushes the man a way because this makes the man feel weak and unmanly. But if she arouses his strength and calls out to it to be pursued, this motivates him to pursue because it will make him feel strong and like a man.
Notice what Naomi told her to do. She didn’t tell Ruth to approach him in public, putting him on the spot, forcing him to make a decision about her because everyone was watching. No, she told Ruth to approach him in private, which means Boaz would be totally free to do what he wanted without added social pressure.
Next, she told Ruth to lay at his feet. Clearly this is an act of submission. She didn’t tell Ruth to stand over him as he’s laying down. She didn’t tell Ruth to lay at his head. No, she told Ruth to lay at his feet. Not only that, she told Ruth that after she laid at his feet, to then wait and listen because “he will tell you what to do.” Again, Naomi was showing Ruth how to be respectful and how to appeal to this man’s strength to lead. While Ruth certainly did some initiating here, she deferred to Boaz as the one who would come up with the next steps.
Lastly, notice the words Ruth used when she spoke to him, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” She highlighted her role as a servant and she appealed to his strength as her protector.
Now I’m not telling women to act like a man’s servant or to lay down in submission to a man who is not her husband. I’m simply highlight the spirit that Ruth possessed towards Boaz. She wasn’t a “boss chick”, a woman operating with a masculine energy, or a “sassy lady” who felt the need to share her opinion on how Boaz should act like a man.
She used her feminine beauty to appeal to his masculine strength. If you want a man to pursue you, approach him “softly” like Ruth did (Ruth 3:7). A man doesn’t want to be told what to do. A man craves a woman who wants the man to lead her. If you show him that you want him to pursue you and lead you, this will be very attractive to him.
Ruth 3:10-11, “And he said, ‘May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.’”
Principle 3: Give him time to know your character before expecting him to fully commit.
Just as Ruth took time to observe Boaz’s character before deciding this was a man the Lord was leading her to invite to pursue her, so too did Boaz take the time to observe her character. Just as Ruth 2:1 states that Boaz was a worthy man, Ruth 3:11 states that Ruth was a worthy woman. But it wasn’t enough that they were both worthy of a godly relationship together. They both needed the time to see this about each other.
Notice too the effect Ruth’s invitation had on Boaz. He said, “You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.” First off, Boaz noticed how Ruth was not chasing other men. Likewise, your invitation to the man you want will be more appealing if he doesn’t see you acting in similar ways with other men. One benefit of being highly selective as a woman is that this gives you the power to show a specific man that you are truly interested in him.
Boaz felt Ruth was interested in him for healthy reasons. It wasn’t his age or his money. Boaz felt that Ruth was a genuine woman who respected and desired Boaz. How you decide to be inviting towards a man is really up to you. You can invite him to spend time with you. You can ask him for help with a task you know he’s good at. You can encourage him when you see him doing something admirable. But whatever you do, just make sure he feels your authenticity and your genuine desire for him as a man.
Ruth 3:12-14, “‘And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.’ So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, ‘Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.’”
Principle 4: Defer to the man’s preferred method of dating.
A lot of women say that they want the man to lead. But then when the man leads, she starts complaining about how he’s deciding to lead. Notice what Ruth did. After she made her move, she then deferred to Boaz’s plan on the next steps. She didn’t interject and tell Boaz he should go slower or faster. She let him lead in their journey towards marriage.
There’s not a one size-fits-all approach in the Bible about how a man and woman are supposed to pursue marriage. Words like “dating” or “courting” are not in Scripture. And throughout the ages, the paths people have taken to get married have been wildly different. Certainly there are biblical and moral principles that all Christian men and women must follow. And certainly there’s some commonsense wisdom everyone should generally follow. But when it comes to the details, I believe a woman should submit to the way the man feels is best.
Does he want to court? Then let him court you. Does he want to date? Then let him date you. Does he want to go on a few dates and then become boyfriend and girlfriend? Let him do that. Does he already know you really well so he just wants to become an official couple right now? Then be his girlfriend.
Of course I’m saying all this in the context of what I said in point 1. I’m talking to women who already know they want to date a man because they already know he’s a godly man. If he’s already shown you he has good character, then defer to him on what path is best for how your relationship should progress. If you don’t know him or don’t trust him yet, then be more assertive and don’t put yourself in compromising situations that you are uncomfortable with.
But like Ruth who invited Boaz to pursue and then let him pursue in the way he felt was best, don’t invite a man to pursue you but then tell him how to pursue you too. That’s a turnoff to a man because it shows you actually want to be the leader rather than wanting him to be the leader.
Ruth 3:15-18, “And he said, ‘Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.’ So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, ‘How did you fare, my daughter?’ Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, ‘These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, “You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.”’ She replied, ‘Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.’”
Principle 5: Let him bless you.
Obviously men and women are equal, but our modern minds equate equality with sameness. Some women have been brainwashed to believer that to be equal with a man she must be treated like a man. But a Christian man does not want to be with a woman who wants to be treated like a man. A godly man wants a woman who wants to be treated like a godly woman.
A good man wants to find a woman who he can lay his life down for. He wants to pursue her, provide for her, protect her, and lead her as they grow old together. While I don’t believe a boyfriend should lead his girlfriend like a husband leads his wife, I do believe a boyfriend and girlfriend should be able to see some glimmers of these marriage qualities so that they can be sure this is the type of marriage relationship they are both signing up for.
Therefore, as a woman, you have to be vulnerable enough to let this man bless you. If you are so self-sufficient that you can’t receive his compliments, his chivalry, his gifts, or his appropriate leading in the relationship, then he will not see you as the wife he wants to marry.
Be like Ruth who gladly received the blessings Boaz was eager to give her.
Next week I will conclude this series through the book of Ruth by going through Ruth 4. In that chapter, we will see how a godly man can pursue a woman through the model we have in how Boaz pursued Ruth. So make sure you are subscribed to my email list if you want to be notified once I release this last article in this series.
And here’s the Part 1 and Part 2 of this series through Ruth. And here’s Part 4: How a Man Can Pursue a Woman Biblically (Ruth 4).