“But Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.’” (Ruth 1:16)
The relationship between Naomi and Ruth is a beautiful example of a good family relationship. The key ingredients of good family relationships are love and respect. They consist of mutual commitment with freedom from each other and a relationship in which each person tries to do what is best for the other.
As much as Naomi and Ruth depended on each other, they also gave each other freedom in their commitment. Naomi was willing to let Ruth return to her family. Ruth was willing to leave her homeland to go to Israel. Naomi even helped arrange Ruth’s marriage to Boaz even though it would change their relationship. As much as husband and wife love each other, they also need to respect and give space to each other. Married couples may still have their different appetites, habits, and hobbies. Family members need to relate to each other with love and respect. This will happen only if each puts the other’s interest above their own – that is, if they submit to one another.
“Submitting to one another in the fear of God.” (Eph 5:21)
Submitting to one another in family relationships includes wives to husbands and also husbands to wives; children to parents and also parents to children. This kind of mutual submission preserves order and harmony in the family while it increases love and respect among family members.
For the wife, this means willingly following her husband’s leadership in Christ. For the husband, it means putting aside his own interests in order to care for his wife. Children should honor their parents even if the parents are demanding and unfair. Parents should care gently for their children even if the children are disobedient and unpleasant.
Submission is rarely a problem in homes where all members have a strong relationship with Christ and where each is concerned for the happiness of the others. The greatest bond between Naomi and Ruth was their faith in God. Naomi’s life was a powerful witness to the reality of God. Ruth was drawn to her and to the God she worshiped. God was the center of their close relationship. The center of a good family relationship is faith in God. We can submit to one another with love and respect in the fear of God. In so doing, we build a strong and happy family.