Are You "Waiting On Your Boaz"? Make Sure You Know What That Means, Sis.
Although I grew up in the church, I've never been someone who is big on church clichés. No matter how popular a phrase might've been, I was the kind of person who didn't simply hop on the bandwagon; I would research things first. That's why I know saying, "This too shall pass" is nowhere in the Bible (it's actually attached to Hebrew and Persian folklore). Or, when I hear a Christian tell a little girl to be like Queen Esther, I often think to myself, "So, you know she spent the night with a pagan king and couldn't reveal that she was Jewish before she married him, right?" (Esther 2:12-14) This means that he probably had sex with her, just like all of those other women that he was "interviewing", so she probably wasn't a virgin on her wedding night. And then there's Ruth. More specifically, Ruth and Boaz. Pretty much every time I hear or read a woman say, "I'm just waiting on my Boaz", I find myself either saying or thinking, "And that just might be why you're still waiting, sis."
Waiting for your Boaz. If there's one thing that I think far too many of us are way too guilty of, it's romanticizing the Bible. Was Boaz a good man? All evidence certainly points to that. But for those of you who wants a man to pursue you and work hard for you, eh, Boaz isn't really your guy.
You'd be better off declaring that you're "waiting for Jacob" since he actually put in hard years of labor (technically, 14 of them—Genesis 29:20-35) for Rachel. Hmph. Even then, some might say that was karma because Jacob tricked his father, Isaac and stole from his brother, Esau "thanks" to his mother, Rebekah's little scheme and then his mother's brother, Laban turned around and tricked him. See what I mean? On the surface, does it seem like a beautiful gesture to have a man toil for your hand in marriage for years on end? Maybe. But if Jacob and his mom hadn't been so sneaky and conniving, perhaps he wouldn't have ended up with a wife he didn't want first (Leah) or he wouldn't have had to work at all.
That's why, I think it's so important to know what you're saying and why you're saying it before you actually do. And when it comes to waiting for your Boaz, as you're about to see in a sec, every time you put that into the Universe (Proverbs 18:21), you are saying more than a mouthful.
Naomi Was the Mastermind
The Book of Ruth really is one of my favorite books of the Bible. It's so rich that there's not enough time to get into all of the details. If you want a blow-by-blow account of each chapter, The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rulesis a pretty stellar read. For now, let's just go over a very brief recap. Naomi was a woman who had two sons that died, leaving behind two widows—Ruth and Orpah (fun fact: Oprah was named after Orpah but her aunt misspelled her name). When Naomi decided to return back to her homeland, Ruth went with her (Ruth 1). With no money and no idea what to do next, Ruth went to glean in a field of one of Naomi's relatives. His name was Boaz.
Boaz was kind to Ruth, no doubt. But other than allowing her to gather as much food as she could handle, he didn't do much else. It was Naomi who started to devise a plan in hopes of getting Boaz and Ruth together. First, that Ruth not go into any other field but Boaz's (Ruth 2:22-23). Next that she do the following:
"One day Naomi said to Ruth, 'My daughter, it's time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for. Boaz is a close relative of ours, and he's been very kind by letting you gather grain with his young women. Tonight he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor. Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don't let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do."—Ruth 3:1-4(NLT)
Nowhere in the Book of Ruth does it say that Boaz asked Ruth out or even that he was pining away for her. It was Naomi who said, "Oh, Boaz? Yeah, I know him. He's my late husband's people. Here's how you can really get his attention." Bookmark that as we move on.
Ruth Did Most of the Legwork
After hearing Naomi's instructions, Ruth simply replied with, "I will do everything you say." (Ruth 3:5—NLT) She then got to work. Literally. Ruth applied some essential oils. She put on her best clothes. She went to see Boaz, uninvited, when, as the New Living Translation of Ruth 3:7 tells us, Boaz had drank and was "in good spirits". It was then that Ruth went into his sleeping space. Now peep what the author of the book that I referenced earlier writes about this part of their journey:
"Clearly, the storyteller has loaded the story with sexual overtones. Language full of double-meanings, the isolated setting, a man and woman alone in darkness, Ruth covering Boaz's "feet" [which some Jewish scholars say could be a euphemism for penis]—all combine to create an aura of ambiguity intended to leave the reader wondering how much of Boaz she uncovers and what Boaz will do with this interesting and unexpected opportunity when he wakes up."—pg. 147
Y'all, Ruth straight-up seduced this man. Only Ruth, Boaz and God Himself know how far things went, but I'll just say that it's not the kind of "date" that you'll hear a lot of pastors or mothers of the church recommend that folks go on. Still, it's in the Bible. And no, Boaz did not come onto Ruth. Ruth came onto Boaz. And there is absolutely no indication in the story that if Naomi had not thought the plan up and Ruth had not followed through that Boaz wouldn't have remained being anything more than "a really nice guy".
So, when you say that you are "waiting on your Boaz"—what are you saying exactly? That you're waiting for a nice man to come along, period? Or that you are waiting for a good man like Boaz to pursue you? If it's the former, I get it. If it's the latter and you intend to not put some real sweat equity into the dynamic, like I said…you could be waiting for a really long time.
A part of the reason why Ruth is my girl is because, like the subtitle of the book states, she didn't follow the rules. She didn't think that only a man should "pursue" a woman in order for a relationship to work (Adam didn't pursue Eve; King Xerses didn't pursue Esther. Both couples still had really powerful and biblical love stories—Genesis 2 and Esther 2). Ruth was bold. Ruth was forward. Ruth was a risk taker. And yes, it paid off. Big time.
Boaz Was a Gentleman but Definitely NOT the Initiator
If you continue to read through the Book of Ruth, you'll see that once Ruth stepped out and made her presence known (and then some) to Boaz, he protected her throughout the rest of the night and then figured out how to make her his wife. Again, all of this wasn't about love and romance, though. She was a Moabite (pagan). Plus, back then, women didn't spend the night with men who weren't their husbands. According to the culture, she could've been severely punished, even stoned to death. Yet, remember how Naomi said that she was gonna find Ruth her own home? Naomi knew all of this. There must've been a part of her that knew Boaz may not ever make the first move. So, she came up with a way to expedite everything. In other words, the story isn't so much "romantic" as it was calculated on Naomi's part and somewhat obligatory on Boaz's. Not to say that he didn't care for Ruth, but again, if you put culture into all of this, his sudden "swiftness" (which ironically is what Boaz means in the Hebrew language; Ruth means "friend") was to protect this woman and ultimately, quite possibly, save her life. He wasn't so much "in love" as he was being noble.
If you continue to read the story (there are four chapters), Boaz does some negotiating for Ruth's hand in marriage, they get married, have sex and conceive a son by the name of Obed who eventually becomes King David's grandfather and someone who is directly in the bloodline of Christ. It's a beautiful story. Yet again, it's not so much because of Boaz. Boaz was reactive. It was Naomi and Ruth who were proactive.
Here's another thing to consider. Remember, the Bible was translated into English. It's originally an eastern culture book with a ton of Hebrew characters in it. According to the Midrash (which is basically a collection of Jewish commentaries), the Shir ha-Shirim Zutta, Boaz and Ruth conceived Obed on their wedding night. Guess what happened the following day, though. Boaz died (he was considerably older than Ruth so, it's quite possible).
Yep. So, think long and hard—are you waiting for a good man who you'll have to seduce, who marries you, partly out of obligation, only for him to die the next day and leave you to raise the son the two of you made alone? Are you really?
Let God Write Your Own Love Story
Y'all, I'm not here to rain on your parade, I'm really not. I'm just here to enforce one of my favorite Message Version verses in the Bible—"It's best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it." (Ecclesiastes 7:18—Message) While it can be tempting to treat the coupledom stories of the Bible like they are fairy tales, at the end of the day, they are simply real people, having real experiences, where we are fortunate enough to see how God works in the midst of their good and not-so-good decisions. Their love stories are not told so that we'll mimic them so much as we'll remember that God has His hand in our life, just as much as He did in theirs. Oh, and so we can see what might be a good idea and…what might not.
Maybe at another time, I'll share why the fact that Ruth pursued Boaz doesn't bother me in the least. Yeah, another verse that could stand to be broken all the way down is "he who finds a wife" (Proverbs 18:22); especially since "find" means things like "to come upon by chance", to "realize" and to "consider". Also, since the very first love story did not consist of a man pursuing at all. Adam was asleep. God did it all (words to live by—Genesis 2). I'm simply saying that no, I'm not out here "waiting on my Boaz". I want my husband and I want it to be my individual journey. That was Ruth's. I want my own.
Some women have the "I'm waiting on my Boaz" so deeply ingrained into them that they will say it until the cows—or their husband—comes home (whichever comes first). But as for you, I hope this gave you a little something to think about. Words are powerful. Try and not put things, even "spiritual" things, into the world, just because everyone else might be saying it. Seek out the truth and reality about matters for yourself. You might just realize that you don't want what you thought you did. You might not want to wait on a Boaz. You might want God to simply lead you to your own husband in a totally different way. And sis, at the end of the day, I actually think that's a good thing. A really good thing.
Feature image by Shutterstock
Originally published on March 8, 2020
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
If you haven’t scrolled upon Olivia McDowell's TikTok famous dinner parties, you may need to reconfigure your "For You Page."
What began as a passion for hosting aesthetically themed meals for her closest friends has quickly become a viral sensation. With an astonishing 12 million viewers, women describe Olivia’s picturesque dinner parties as the “dream girls' night,” complete with classy cocktails, beautiful table settings, elegant outfits, and, most importantly, food plated to perfection.
Seemingly reigniting the feminine urge to host fancy dinner parties, Olivia has perfected the finer details. Overlooking the skyline in her beautiful NYC apartment, she never fails to make her signature handmade pasta dishes while simultaneously looking effortlessly chic in the wardrobe of dreams while doing so.
Replying to @nara0630 what should the theme of my next dinner party be? #minivlog #nycliving #dinnerpartyideas #caviarinnewyork
What I love most about hosting intimate dinners for close friends are the connections and relationships that form over food. They don't require a caviar budget with a high-rise apartment, it just takes determination and a little creativity. Watching Olivia’s journey inspires viewers to be a part of a community of positive and uplifting women who share common interests and tastes in food, fashion, and decor. Simply stated, she’s raising the bar of friendship goals.
If you’re aspiring to host a holiday-themed dinner party this season, check out the four tips that will guide you along the way.
Choose Your Theme
Replying to @emz.life.tsv what was your fav part? 🤍 hope this gives you some inspiration to host a fancy friendsgiving too! #hostingtip #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Set the ambiance with a thoughtful theme, which will indeed be your guiding light for less stress during the planning process. Establishing a theme sets the tone for everything else to fall in place, such as menus, table design, and presentation. For example, a holiday-inspired dinner party is a perfect occasion for elegant all-white decor paired with draped table cloths, pillar candles lit atop luxe holders, floating floral arrangements, and, for a personal touch, handwritten place settings.
Utilizing free resources such as Canva for menu templates and creating a “Dinner Party” moodboard via Pinterest is perfect for gathering dinner inspiration for themes, decor, and recipes for the special occasion.
Simplify the Menu
How to host your own pasta making dinner party — part 1: pasta making from scratch 🤍 Hosting dinner parties has become my favorite thing to do this year. More goes into it than you expect, the prep, planning, guestlist, tablescape, etc. but it’s always worth it in the end. What do you guys want to see next? #hostingtips #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Don’t overcomplicate the menu. A simple dinner party formula to use as your guide to making sure your guests leave full of food and joy is appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages. As a starter, assemble an aesthetic spread that your guest can nibble on while awaiting the main course with starters such as bread, cheese, jam, nuts, and fruit. A simple salad will do, complete with a light dressing right before your entree. For a main dish, pasta recipes always go a long way and also allows your guests to interact with one another, which leads to McDowell's third dinner party hosting tip.
Include an Interactive Element
Replying to @itstai.tv 🖤 #girlhood
To break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another, introduce interactive elements to the evening. Moments of interaction allow everyone to connect, like capturing content for social media or memorializing the essence of the night through fun Polaroids. Olivia also encourages her guests to participate in the pasta-making dinner process as a group, or if hosting a brunch, her friends indulge in building their own coffee bar as an opportunity for forming connections and conversation starters. Group board or card games are also great for laughs and healthy competition to help get the vibes flowing.
Don’t Forget the Dress code
Replying to @samantha_mendiz when all of your friends are the main character 🖤🥂 #dinnerparty #nycfashion
Tis’ the season for glamour and sparkles, so why not go all out with a super chic dress code? You can’t have a picture-perfect holiday dinner party without the coordinating attire to match. When planning, make sure to make the required attire specific yet broad enough for a range of personalities and preferences to comfortably partake while looking stunning doing so.
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Featured image by Justin Lambert/Getty Images