In the Company of the Courageous

Two Male Golfers Walking Along Fairway Carrying Bags

If two men are in the trenches together (literally or metaphorically), they find the will to remain in the battle because they know they’re fighting for one another. The grit and determination of each man gives the other courage. They watch each other’s back and strengthen one another’s backbone. 

Sadly, many family men don’t have even one close friend to lean on. They’re fighting their battles alone. Rambo-style. And although that approach has explosive results on the big screen, it’s disastrous in real life. 


“Rambos” are easy to spot: They usually lack humility and think they are the heroes of their own stories. Their moral blind spots go unchallenged, and their wife and children inevitably suffer. These men don’t benefit from the wisdom and correction of other men. They sometimes bully their wife and kids. 

Men need authentic friends who speak wisdom and truth into their lives, who give them hope when they’re down. Such friendships help them become stronger, more reliable and more admirable husbands and fathers. 

Brothers in arms

Years ago, when I was a young father with three small children, I grew frustrated with my inability to get my kids to behave. Fortunately, I became friends with an older man who had five kids. He did not treat his children as the problem, but instead he addressed their behavior, which made his correction easier to receive. I adopted his superior approach, and it has made all the difference in my relationship with my kids. I’ve sought my friend’s parenting advice many times since. 

How about you? Do you have a friend to lean on? If you’ve been trying to go it alone, maybe it’s time to kill your “inner Rambo.” Let go of your need to be autonomous. Forge an authentic relationship with at least one other guy so courage, strength and insight can flow to and through you. 

You’ll need to choose your brothers in arms carefully, however — a bad friend can be worse than none at all. Find a man whom you respect, with whom you share common interests and who doesn’t simply quote Scriptures but also lives them. And then face the battles of life . . . together. 

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2009 issue of Thriving Family magazine. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing for a gift of any amount.

Copyright © 2009 by Paul Coughlin. Used by permission.

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