FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Being Your Man’s Cheerleader

with Brian Tome | May 3, 2019
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Pastor Brian Tome, author of "Five Marks of a Man," talks to wives about the importance of encouraging their husbands. He also reminds men of their calling to lay down their lives for their wives. Tome shares what he's done to nurture and love his wife, and tells women what affirmation does for a man.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Pastor Brian Tome talks to wives about the importance of encouraging their husbands. He also reminds men of their calling to lay down their lives for their wives.

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Being Your Man’s Cheerleader

With Brian Tome
May 03, 2019
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Bob: When you think about what it is that makes a man a man, is your thinking shaped more by the culture or by what the Bible teaches? Here’s Pastor Brian Tome.

Brian: Stereotypical masculinity is part of the problem. We shouldn’t be focusing on the veneer of the chosen pursuits or hobbies of a specific man. This is a character discussion. It’s a worldview discussion. It’s an aspiration for your life discussion—not whether or not you want to wear flannel or cotton.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, May 3rd. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson, and I’m Bob Lepine. What should we think about when we think about manliness and masculinity? We’ll spend some time with Pastor Brian Tome talking about that today. Stay with us.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. So, have you just, all week, kind of been going—“Yes! Yes! Yes! Say more”? Have you had that going on inside of you?

Dave: I don’t sound that bad when I do it, Bob; but yes, I’ve been sort of testosteroned up and excited to bring this topic into the listeners ears. This is an important, critical topic—I’m talking about boys becoming men.

Bob: We’ve got Brian Tome joining us this week to talk about that subject. He’s written a book called The Five Marks of a Man. Brian, welcome back.

Brian: Thank you, Bob. It’s an honor to be here.

Bob: Brian is the pastor at Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with 14 campuses and a lot of ministry going on in Ohio—a lot of ministry. In fact, you alluded to this already this week. Ministry to homeless folks, ministry to poor—you do some stuff with community outreach at Thanksgiving that’s pretty remarkable.

Brian: Yes, I think we had 100,000 meals this last year that we were able to feed people with. We believe that the church needs to be a blessing. By the way, we’re not just in Cincinnati. We’re in Lexington, in Dayton, in Columbus, and making some in roads into Indiana. So, it’s kind of a national movement right now that we’re trying to just see what God wants to do.

We believe that we are here to be a blessing. Genesis 12:2—the original call to Abraham was: “Through you, all people will be blessed.” So, I believe every local church should be a blessing and be perceived to be a blessing by everybody in their community.

Bob: I’m just curious, Ann. Does it make you nervous at all when guys like your husband and Brian get together, and they start to resonate with what we’ve been talking about? Does a part of that scare you a little bit?

Ann: Honestly, I love it. I’ve raised three sons, and the men are looking for role models. They are looking for answers. They are looking for hope. They’re looking for inspiration. So, I kind of sit back here and applaud.

I think what other women feel, though, is: “I wish—I wish my husband was like that,” “I wish my husband had some vision,” “I wish my husband was doing more with the kids,” “I wish. I wish”; and we don’t know what to do with those wishes. Like, if we say, “Hey, maybe, you could…,” that feels disrespectful for a man. So, I think a lot of women—we’ve almost done more harm because they feel like—our men can feel like failures.

Bob: But what about the wife who is married to a guy who doesn’t go bow hunting and ride motorcycles but the guy who likes to come home and read a book or—you know, he’s—

Brian: Finger-paint. [Laughter]

Bob: Well.

Brian: No, no, I’m serious. Being a man is not about hunting. There are incredibly masculine, manly men who finger-paint and do caravans. It’s a bummer that this discussion—

Dave: Right.

Brian: —is just only happening on that level on the surface veneer of what’s classical man.

Bob: Okay.

Ann: Yes; like an artist.

Brian: Absolutely.

Dave: Oh, totally.

Ann: The men who built the temple were artistic men that were gifted by God, and they were manly men, I’m sure.

Bob: But if a guy is quiet and mild-mannered and, maybe, a little introverted and wife goes—“I wish he were a little more [grunting] than he is”—what should she do with that?

Ann: I think if she married that man, then she probably was attracted to him; you know? He’s more introverted and quiet. That doesn’t mean that he can’t lead, he can’t love God, and he can’t lead as a man in their home. So, I just think it’s a perspective.

Bob: The five marks that you talk about in the book, The Five Marks of a Man—a man having a vision instead of living day to day—you can be a quiet guy and still have a vision; right?


Brian: Absolutely right.

Bob: A guy who is a team player and not trying to be the MVP—you can be a quiet guy and still be a team player.

Brian: It happens all the time.

Bob: A guy who is working and not playing / a guy who takes life seriously instead of saying, “It’s all about my pleasure,” again, that can be a quiet guy.

Brian: Completely.

Bob: A guy who has the courage to take a minority position and say, “I’m going to stand here even if the culture is going another direction”—again, that can be a strong and quiet man.

Brian: Yes; some of the most vociferous people are just articulating what the masses are saying; but they are trying to say it in a much more loud and offensive way.

Bob: A guy who is a protector and not a predator—again, that can be a guy who is a strong and, yet, quiet guy. So, we’re not talking about stereotypical masculinity as we talk about the five marks of a man. We’re talking about something that’s anchored in how God’s made us.

Brian: Stereotypical masculinity is part of the problem. We shouldn’t be focusing on the veneer of the chosen pursuits or hobbies of a specific man. This is a character discussion. It’s a worldview discussion. It’s an aspiration for your life discussion—not whether or not you want to wear flannel or cotton.

Bob: Let me ask you about this idea that a man is a team player instead of wanting to be the MVP because the guy who is the MVP—whoever gets it in the NBA this year / whoever is the MVP in the NFL—I mean we look at those guys and go—“That’s a man right there.”

Brian: Yes; that’s a man right there; but if they’re the MVP, they’re probably elevating their team. It’s not that you can’t be an MVP. It’s not that you can’t be a leader in your field. It’s the going into it you want to have a team attitude.

Classic example is: “How many kids in youth football were amazing quarterbacks and went on to be amazing quarterbacks but they were stuck on the O-line because they were the largest kid there?” If their dad had his wits about him, he said, “Son, you’re going to play line. You’re eight years old right now. You’re going to play line. We’ll figure that out later.” That’s a team attitude versus—“No, my son is not going to be here unless he’s handling the ball.” It’s a team attitude.

How our churches are run—we have to say, “Wait, am I operating this model where there’s supposedly one guy who goes up in the mountain and he hears from God and then comes down and says, ‘This is what the Lord has said’? Or am I operating a team-context where God is speaking to a bunch of people, and I’ve got to lead through that maze?”

Bob: You’ve been a part of teams pretty much all of your life.

Dave: Yes.

Bob: As you listen to this, you understand that there’s a differentiation between a guy who comes to the team sport and says, “I want the ball. I want it to be about me,” and somebody else who says, “We’ve got something bigger going on here.”

Dave: It’s funny. We’re talking about a quarterback and MVP, and I was both of those—you know—high school / college—the whole thing—MVP at both places; but here is the thing. When I was that guy, it was about me. I was a boy. I didn’t know that at the time, and it wasn’t until I understood what a man was—sort of similar journey to Brian’s—from Scripture that reshifted my whole focus.

It’s never about me. It’s about us. It’s actually, as a man—and that’s one of your big marks—is: “I need to be a team player which means I need men in my life, I need to be active in their lives, and I need them active in my life.

Brian: The most important team we’re ever going to be on is our marriage.

Dave: Right.

Brian: Why do marriages go down? It’s always because one or both people think they are the most valuable person. Marriage isn’t a 50 / 50 thing. It’s a 100 / 100 thing. As men, we’ve got to—I think my Bible still says, “Lay down your life for your wife as Christ died for the church.” Why would you do that? It’s a team move. It’s a team move. When you choose to not have the final word in the argument, that’s a team move.

Ann: Brian, you started this huge church. It’s a megachurch. How did that affect your marriage; and how, now, do you keep your marriage a priority?

Brian: Yes; the truth is: It affected us very intensely and very negatively. Very intensely, possibly, because—you know we never doubt that God is using us in our marriage; and we have great people around us; and drinking from the well of something that’s big and growing; and I’m at the center of it; and all of these people like what I said, and let’s see—“How many people like the comment I just tweeted about?” There is a constant, constant draw.

So, for many people in my position, the discussion we have with our wives is—be real honest about it—our wives become the mistress, and our church becomes the lover because we’re getting most of our validation through what we’re doing at church.

So, I understand the guy in business or the guy who starts his own business and his whole manhood is tied up in the success, and he can’t get away from it because I’m ashamed to say, “I’ve done the same thing in the spiritual endeavor that I’m in”; but the wise thing we have is that when I do mess up, there’s a place of grace to come back to.

So, if you look at the 22 years that Lib and I have been at the post, there is probably been—oh, I don’t know—three eras in those 22 years that were probably like—“Danger, Will Robinson! Things are really, really not good here.” Fortunately, we’ve been able to pull back, and part of how we’ve done that is the team that is surrounding us.

Dave: Yes; talk about that. I was thinking, “There has to be men in your life, as you are a team player, that have helped you in your marriage and your life. How do they help? How do they speak into you? What role do they play?

Brian: Well, first of all, they’ve got to know. We tend to not tell people what’s going on.

Dave: Yes.

Brian: You have to get to a place where you’re okay looking weak because the things that we talk about that are not going well, we’re always going to look weak; but if you don’t look weak and you don’t admit that you are weak and talk about the thing that you’re struggling with, you can’t get help from other people—whatever that thing is.

Ann: I love that you are saying that because Dave has always said that to me. He said, “With your group of girlfriends / your friends / your close friends, you can tell them I’m an idiot because it’s true. So, feel the freedom to tell anything about me that you want and about us.” I think there are a lot of people in ministry that are afraid to do that because they are afraid of what people will think.

Bob: You’ve got a reputation you’ve got to—

Ann: Exactly; withhold.

Bob: —you’ve got to protect.

Brian: Well, let’s not forget here that men in America are at a massive deficit because we don’t have this modeled anywhere. Women have it modeled for them what it looks like to go to lunch / what it looks like to talk with their friends. Male circles in America—we never saw our dad do it. I never saw my dad with a friend.

Bob: Right.

Brian: I never saw my dad take a weekend away with buddies. So, it wasn’t in the culture ethos. By the way, this is not a man-thing. This is an American man-thing. When I go over to other countries—whether it be India—men are literally hanging all over each other, hugging each other, sitting on each other’s laps. Here we can’t do that because it’s—ooh, it sends the wrong message. We have everything, culturally, going against us to help us as men understand what intimacy is with men. So, we’re generation scratch. We’re trying to figure it out right now because we haven’t seen it before.

Bob: So, let me jump back into the question Dave was asking about those two or three times in your marriage when somebody had to throw the flag and say, “Time out. There’s a penalty going on here.” How did your wife get your attention to the fact that this was serious?

Brian: Well, one, it’s in the book. I came across email communication of a guy who was hitting on her. That situation—by the way, when that happens, you recognize that it’s probably because there is an emotional and, perhaps, physical things that I’m not meeting in her that are making her vulnerable. That’s a tough pill to swallow. That’s a really, really tough pill to swallow. You’ve got to help put that together in your own mind and having other guys lean into. So, sometimes, you bump up into a crisis.

Sometimes, you just look in your wife’s eyes, and you realize, “She’s not all there. She’s really not.”

Ann: So, when that happens, what have you done?

Brian: Well, you’ve got to step back and just do a life rewrite. So, we’re actually in one of those right now. We—I said three eras. We’re right now in third of those of three eras. Actually, we’re doing really well right now. We’ve made a lot, a lot of ground here over the last portion of time; but you say, “Date nights”—those are going to be religious. Thursday nights—those are going to be—we are going to do date nights. You also say, “Okay, if we are hurting here, I’m going to spend a lot of money on this.”

It’s amazing—one of our kids comes into drug rehab. We find all kinds of money to throw at the drug rehab; or if something else happens, we find money; but when it comes to investing in our marriage, we tend to not find money for that. We just took a weekend trip to New York City, and it was very, very expensive. That’s not the first place where I would put my recreational dollars. I’d put it someplace else; but that’s where she wanted to go. It afforded us amazing, amazing conversation; but it would not have happened if we had not invested in it.

Bob: Let me just say to that—investing in counseling. I mean I know people will think, “Wait, the pastor of the church—he and his wife are going to counseling. What’s wrong?” Well, what’s wrong is your trying to keep your marriage where it needs to be, and marriages get out of alignment. Your car gets out of alignment. You take it in and say, “Hey, this needs to be fixed.” Nobody goes—“So, what’s wrong? Your car got out of alignment.” Cars get out of alignment.

Dave: Everything does.

Bob: That’s right.

Dave: I mean our lives do, and I can’t tell you—Bob, you know this. Brian, I’m sure you do as well. The number of times I’ve spoken at a marriage conference—Weekend to Remember®—and a couple will come up, and they’re loving the weekend. God’s doing something in their marriage, and I’ll say, “How many have you been to?” “Oh, we haven’t ever been away in our entire marriage like this.” I’m like—“Well, how long have you been married?” “25 years.”

I literally look at them and go—“That’s wrong; you know?” They get offended. I’m like—“You need to do this! You haven’t been away from your kids in 20 years?!” They’re just—“Yes.” “Why?” It’s not—“It cost money.”

By the way, I’d say to the men out there, you do this. Don’t just wait for your wife to make this happen. You take a manhood position and say, “Honey, I’m taking you away. I know you don’t even want to go. We can’t leave the kids. I’ve got the sitters. I’ve got it all set up. We’re going because I want to pour into our marriage.” Would a wife go nuts on that? Yes; she’d jump upside down.

Ann: Let’s say a woman longs for all of this. She longs for her husband to lead, to love, to serve, to—all of that. She’s like—“Yes; yes.” Give her some tips of what she can do to motivate her husband. Can she, or is that just something she just needs to pray about?

Brian: Men ultimately have to have a burn inside of them that makes them want to improve and go further. We can’t give them that burn. We can’t give women that burn. We all have to have that burn. If he does have a burn to go forward and if you as a woman / as a wife want to prod him along in that journey, there has to be such a thick bedrock foundation of him resting secure in that you are a hyper-fan of his—just a fan of his. He’s got to just know that—“Sun-up / sun-down, my wife is a fan of mine. She loves me.”

I think this is why. Ephesians says, “Wives, respect your husbands.” Husbands have to feel like their wife respects them. So, if that coaching is coming out of a sense of disrespect, he’s never going to hear it.

Bob: We have a mutual friend, Robyn Mckelvy, who speaks at our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways with her husband Ray. You guys remember this. In the Art of Marriage® video series—

Dave: Right.

Bob: —she says, “When she was in high school, she was a cheerleader.” She said, “Out team was a terrible team.” She said, “They’d be down my four touchdowns in the fourth quarter.” She said, “You know what we were doing? We were still on the sidelines going—‘You can do it! You’ve got it’”—doing the whole dance and cheering them on—“The game is lost, and we’re still cheering them on.”

She said, “I realized when I got married, I took off my wedding dress, and I put on a cheerleader uniform. My job in my marriage and in my family is to cheer the team on even when they’re losing—to say, ‘You can do it. You’ve got it. Come on!’”

A cheerleader can’t control how the team plays, and wife can’t control what her husband does; but there is something about hearing somebody on the sidelines cheering for you that causes you to play a little harder.

Brian: This is an across gender expectation. Men should be doing the same thing for their wives.

Bob: That’s right.

Ann: I love it.

Bob: Yes.

Ann: We, women, don’t realize the power and influence we have over men. That’s a big, powerful influence.

Bob: Well, this has been helpful, I think, for all of us—for the guys who have been listening and the wives who have been listening—to just pull back and reflect on the fact that there is something good about men being men and about men stepping into and embracing and aspiring to godly masculinity.

Dave: I would add this: One of the first things a boy and a man has to do to know what a man is, is they have to have a vision of it. What does it look like? That’s what this book gives you. It, literally, gives you a vision: This is what a man is. Now, I can pursue that.

Bob: Brian, thanks for writing the book. Thanks for being here.

Brian: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Bob: The book is called Five Marks of a Man: Finding Your Path to Courageous Manhood. We’ve got copies in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can order the book from us online or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to order. You may want to go through this book with other guys.

Get a group together and go through it over the summer; or maybe, get other dads and—if you’ve got teenage sons, get dads and sons together—high school age / college age sons. Plan ten nights this summer when you and your son and his friends and their dads all get together; go through a session a night in the ten-session Stepping Up® video series that we’ve created.

This is a great way for fathers and sons to interact about what it means to take responsibility / to step away from passivity / to step out of boyhood and to step into manhood—a great summertime activity for dads and sons.

Order a copy of the Stepping Up video series when you go to or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to request a copy. Again, you can find information about the Stepping Up series or Brian Tome’s book, The Five Marks of a Man, when you go to Order from us online, or call to order at 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

You know, as we’ve heard Brian talk today about manhood, I was taping a podcast recently with a friend of mine; and he asked me about the subject of toxic masculinity—“And what would you say about toxic masculinity?” I said, “The problem is not toxic masculinity. It’s toxic humanity because whether we are men or women we can certainly display the wrong way to do things / the sinful way to do things in both our manhood and our womanhood.”

We’ve got the President of FamilyLife® David Robbins here with us, and you’ve made this observation. I’ve heard you make this observation before about manhood and the fact that we need to be conforming our masculinity to what the Bible says.

David: Yes. I mean the Son of God came, and we have a great model in Jesus. Here’s the thing. We’re not talking about this topic because wives and mothers are irrelevant or because men’s roles are more important than women’s. I mean, far from it.

Bob: Right.

David: We’re talking about manhood because the cultural stereotypes of men bear almost no resemblance to the biblical picture of what manhood is.

At FamilyLife, we aren’t interested in helping men fit into the molds of culture and what culture says being a man is about. We are passionate about helping men live out the values of manhood seen in the Scriptures.

Jesus doesn’t fit many of our cultural stereotypes of masculinity; and yet, He showed a strength of purpose, of humility, and a commitment to the good of others that caused people to be drawn to Him and even flock to Him—both men and women. Let’s not forget that He repelled those who were threatened by purpose, humility, and kindness.

Bob: Right.

David: Jesus is the kind of man we need, personally, to get out of any of our toxic and sinful behaviors; and He is the kind of man we are hoping to help develop and model men after for the good of every family.

Bob: Well, as we said today, He created us male and female, and we need to embrace that and, then, live it out to the glory of God.

So, thank you for that, David.

This, by the way, is one of the things we are going to be talking to husbands about this weekend at our three Weekend to Remember marriage getaways taking place in Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; and Reston, Virginia. Would you pray for the couples who will be in attendance; and Sunday morning, when we get the guys together and talk with them about being husbands, about being dads, and about being godly men? Just pray for the husbands and the wives who will a part of the getaway this weekend.

If you’d like more information about upcoming getaways, you can go to

Thanks to those of you who make this daily radio program and these getaways and all that we do here at FamilyLife possible. When you donate to support this ministry, you are making it possible for more people, more regularly find practical, biblical help and hope for their marriages and for their families.

During the month of May, we’ve had some friends of the ministry who have offered to match every donation we receive dollar for dollar up to a total of 550,000 dollars. It’s a very generous matching gift opportunity, and we hope to take full advantage of it.

To do that, we’d like to ask those of you who are regular listeners to consider—either making a one-time contribution, and that donation will be matched dollar for dollar; or consider becoming a Legacy Partner. A monthly Legacy Partner—every donation you make over the next 12 months will be matched dollar for dollar until we have depleted that matching gift fund of 550,000 dollars.

In addition, as a new Legacy Partner, you will receive a certificate that entitles you as a couple or a couple you know to attend an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway as our guests. It’s our way of saying, “Thank you for your ongoing support of FamilyLife Today.”

You can donate or become a Legacy Partner online at or call—if you have any questions or if you’d like to sign up or donate by phone, call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Thanks in advance for your support, and we hope you have a great weekend.

I hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend, and I hope you can join us on Monday. We’re going to talk with Catherine Parks about the difference between superficial relationships and real relationships. How can we go deeper in our relationships with one another—in marriage, outside of marriage, with our friends? How do we have stronger, deeper relationships? We’ll talk about that Monday. Hope you can be with us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas; a Cru® Ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.


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