Hey Tough Guy!

Do you consider yourself to be tough?  What does it mean to be a tough guy?  Tough guy has sort of become a byword now.  It’s a label assigned to men who ACT TOUGH.  I emphasize the word ACT because that’s usually all it is.

Being tough was something I think most boys learn about pretty early.  When I was in first grade, Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man was the quintessential tough guy.  He was our model of what was tough, never mind that he had $6,000,000 worth of government enhancements that helped him be tough.  I was also a fan of Nick Barkley.  I remember the opening sequence of Big Valley clearly announcing that Nick was the strongest!  We all wanted to be Nick.

An unwritten rule of being a tough guy that all us tough guy wanna be’s learned in the first grade was that tough guys don’t smile in pictures.  I actually notices this first while observing an Elvis Presley album cover.  Just a little smirk…that’s all you get.  Big grins are not tough.  Apparently tough guys don’t get to show it when they’re happy.

As I grew older, I began to notice that in nearly every case where I met someone with admirable toughness, it wasn’t a tough guy attitude.  These people didn’t talk about being tough, because they never really thought about it.  They didn’t brag about how strong they were or who they could beat up.  Their toughness just showed up and made itself known by how they acted. It was in the way they lived.  Usually, when they were put under a heavy load or a high stress situation, they would respond with amazing self control and inner strength.  What we see in men like this is real toughness.

Acting tough.

Acting tough means putting on a show.  In my own experience, all through my childhood and school years, there were always boys that acted tough around other boys.  They would constantly be applying a mild threat to everyone around them.  The unspoken threat was “I can and will beat you up if you mess with me”.  This was usually a lie and when these guys would be put to the test, often there wasn’t any supporting evidence that they were either strong, or a good fighter.  What it proved was that they were all talk.  Their “tough” was just tough talk.  They were “All hat and no cattle”.  But that leaves us with a question.  What does it really mean to be a tough guy?

Being tough.

In my own mind, being a real tough guy means to have personal discipline. The men I have been most impressed with in my life are the men who did the things that were right, even when they were hard.  In some cases – really hard!  I’ve seen men love people who wanted to take a swing at them.  I’ve watched as people I know were wronged, hurt and publicly embarrassed; but then they almost immediately forgave, walked in love toward the one who hurt them, and never brought it up again.

Proverbs 19:11 says “The discretion of a man defers his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression”.  This to me represents what it means to really be tough.  The ability to pass over the offences that come at you every day, exercise forgiveness, and walk in love.  Even when you don’t necessarily like the person that offends you, you have the spiritual fortitude to obey God’s Word and do what’s right.

A tough guy understands that a good marriage is built sowing and showing love to his spouse.  I say this because loving your wife is not a feeling.  Does the Bible say that “For us that God so loved the world that He felt warm and fuzzy toward us?  Or that He shouted from Heaven “I Love You!”?  No! We see His Love because the Bible clearly states He Gave us His only begotten Son.  This leaves us a clear example.  We also see that we are to model ourselves after Jesus’ own example in Eph 5:25.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…   Love is expressed in giving – even when we don’t feel like it.

Love forgives – as many times as it takes.  True love in a marriage shows up in a thousand forgivenesses a day. Part of loving your spouse is the commitment to overlook and forgive.  It’s when a couple stop forgiving and begin to mark the offences, that serious contention starts.  Marriage is a type and a shadow of the believer’s relationship with the Lord Jesus.  Imagine how it would go if Jesus marked and held it against us every time we were offensive to Him. Thank God He doesn’t.  His forgiveness is everlasting.  There’s no one tougher than Him.  He did what was right even when it meant dying, and suffering the punishment for the sin of everyone.

He has become our example of what a tough guy really is.  Remember – “The discretion of a man defers his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression”.


Are You A Man Worth Having?

I’ve seen a lot of Memes & image cards on the internet that tell me what a good man is, or what a good man will do.

Here are some characteristics gleaned from social media about what a Real or Good man is.

He listens.

He reads.

He’s secure enough to have her stand in the lime-light.

He’s romantic.

He minds his manners.

He holds the door open.

He understands that he doesn’t know everything.

He makes a conscious effort to learn something new every day.

He reads this without being offended.

He treasures a woman’s heart after he’s won it.

He doesn’t have time to look at another woman because he’s too busy looking for ways to love his own.

He changes himself because he loves his woman.

He’s careful with his decisions & actions so he’s never responsible for her pain.

A real man will make missing you his hobby, caring for you his job, and making you happy his duty, and loving you his life.


Do you agree with these? When it comes to being a real good man, I think most of them are narrowly focused and missing the point.

While I think that too many women are already yoked to a man who is not worth having, one of the underlying themes in my writing is to help that. I want to write about being a man of quality. In relationships, being a man worth having.

One of my first jobs that didn’t involve delivering newspapers or mowing grass was as a dish washer for the local Elk’s Club. One day while on my way home from work, I came to a red light and there was a car stopped in front of me. While waiting for the light to turn green I noticed in the car in front of me, the man behind the wheel, closed fist punching the woman in the passenger seat. He punched her 4 or 5 times that I could see. I was just stunned. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I’m a teenager & I didn’t really know what to do. All I could think of was that I should maybe honk my horn or something to let him know that I was witnessing his abuse. The light changed, they were gone and I did nothing.

That incident has come to my mind many times over the years and I have rolled it over and over in my mind, trying to determine what the best & most appropriate action should have been. It bothers me when I think about it because I wasn’t raised thinking it was acceptable to hit women and I still wish to this day that I had done something.

She needs to know you’re not going to hit her or abuse her.  If you have a tendency to lose your temper and hit and If you are going to torment and punish her for choosing you, you are not a man worthy of the relationship. To be a man worth having, you need to show her that she’s safe with you.

A few years ago a woman I knew was let go from her job. The company had been sold and was being moved to another state. We all knew her fairly well and we knew that her husband hadn’t had a job in some time. When we asked her how she was doing, she said she was doing alright and was doing a little brokering. We asked if her husband was out looking now that she was unemployed, to which she replied with an eye roll “That would be too life altering for him”. We could tell that she didn’t like supporting him and that her whole situation was discouraging to her.

Remember, God gave Adam a job before He gave him a woman. While both spouses can, and many do work outside the home, a husband needs to be a prominent contributor to the financial well being of the family. I don’t think he needs to necessarily be the primary breadwinner, but he also should not making his wife support him while he spends all his time playing, and not contributing. To be a man worth having, provide for your family & make sure they have what they need.

There’s a guy I knew once that used to call his wife fat in front of his relatives. I used to ask myself why he would do that, but it doesn’t take much thought to really understand why. She was over weight. She knew she was over weight. He knew she was over weight. Everyone who saw her knew she was over weight. What was the point of calling it out and drawing focus to it? He was unhappy with her weight and was trying to shame her into changing it.

To be a man worth having, you need have her back, to look out for her and protect her. Not just physically, but also spiritually and emotionally. Not causing her to be publicly humiliated, but rather, to run interference for her.

When my wife and I are out together, I can usually see when a conversation or an interaction is going weird for her. I see it coming and interject myself to take steps to stop it or change it’s direction. When I recognized that there were things that I would do in front of others that bothered her, I took steps to quit doing them. Why? Because I’m her covenant partner and I’m on the lookout for this stuff. She’s my covenant partner and is doing the same for me.

Being a man worth having starts long before any relationship begins.  It really starts with a man making solid decisions about the kind of man he wants to be.  A man worth having is a man of honor, integrity, humility & faithfulness in every area of his life, not just in relationships.  He is these things because God put in him a desire to be these things. He doesn’t do it for her, but any woman in his life will benefit from his commitment to being a man of excellence.  While I’m talking about men here, these things don’t only apply to men.  These are universal principles and we should all be working to put them into our lives.

So, what do you think?  Have I left something out?  Leave a comment & let me know your top attribute for a man worth having.  I look forward to the conversation.

If this has helped you, please consider sharing.  Thanks again,