How to Have Intentional Friendships

3 Mins read

“Nothing really happened. We just lost touch.” “Life just sort of took us in different directions.” “We’re just too busy.” Have you ever said words like these when describing a lost relationship?

The truth is, relationships of all kinds – be they between spouses, parents and children, or friends – take time and work from both parties. Perhaps there is no greater example of a beautiful friendship than the one between Ruth and Naomi.

Be Like Naomi – Intentionally Selfless

Naomi went with her husband and two sons from Bethlehem to Moab. The Moabites were known for immorality and idolatry, but Naomi’s family was suffering from a famine in their homeland, so they went. Naomi’s two sons married Moabites. One was named Ruth. All three men passed away.

Naomi selflessly urged the two young women to return to their parents and seek new husbands. Naomi pointed out that she was elderly. Her future was not as bright as for the daughter-in-laws. She told them not to worry about her. At her core, Naomi was selfless.

Imagine being an elderly woman with no family, no home, no resources, and no one to provide for you. In order to return to your homeland, you need a family member to claim you. Even in such dire circumstances, Naomi puts Ruth first. That is an intentional relationship. It is more than modern friendships that involve a “thumbs up” here and there on social media.

It is intentionally showing the other person that they matter, and you care. This deliberate thoughtfulness and kindness is the foundation necessary for building healthy relationships.

Be Like Ruth – Loyal

It seems apparent that Naomi and Ruth loved and respected each other. Extreme circumstances, however, could have easily led the two women to go their separate ways.

Together, they faced poverty and the unknown. Because she was much younger, Ruth could have simply wished her mother-in-law luck in her journey back to Bethlehem. She could have returned to her own mother and sought a new husband to provide for her in the land that she knew and understood.

Instead, she says to Naomi, “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, New King James version).

Ruth did not foresee marrying Boaz, a wealthy relative of her father-in-law. She was willing to work long hours to gather leftovers in the barley field just to remain loyal to Naomi and not leave her in her time of need. God met her there and blessed her, but she went without knowing that in advance, and with a giving, loyal heart.

In times of difficulty, do not let yourself become prey to the idea that you are too busy for maintaining healthy relationships. Intentionally reach out to friends with whom you have not spoken lately. Remind them that you care.

Do they live far away? Consider making the trip to see them in person. Are they too busy to accept invitations? What can you do to show them loyalty like Ruth? Would a care package brighten their day? Could you prepare and deliver a meal to ease their stress?

The same way that God lavishly pours his love onto us, let us do the same for others. Whether the history was rocky before losing touch or not, that kind of sacrificial love is hard to ignore and can reignite a sluggish friendship.

Remember Your Relationship with God, Too

Like Boaz, God saved us and welcomed us into His holy family through his Son, Jesus Christ. Let’s not forget to maintain a healthy relationship with Him, as well. What do you do with your loved ones?

You learn about them. You know what they like and dislike. You respect them. You talk to them. Read about God and His love. There are more stories of friendship and healthy relationships besides Ruth and Naomi. Live in a way that is pleasing to God.

Most importantly, talk to Him. He will guide you and bless you in your earthly relationships if you ask.


Loving God,

Thank you for our relationship. Even when I disappoint You, You love me. You model perfect love. Your Son is an example of completely sacrificial love. Show me relationships that could use some tender love and care from me. Help me be selfless like Naomi and Ruth. Show me how to express loyalty to my loved ones. Teach me how to be intentional in my relationships.

In Jesus’ name I pray.



1 John 4:7-11
1 Corinthians 13:4-13
Ecclesiastes 5:9-10
Romans 12:10

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