12:1–8 describes Solomon in his last days, as a strong man bent over whose “grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows [eyes] are dimmed” (12:3). Rocking back and forth on his front porch, he reflects on his hedonistic marathon run: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth. . . . Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (12:1, 13–14).

So the man who traded divine wisdom for human existentialism proved he wasn’t smarter than a fifth grader. Any child raised in Sunday school could reveal Solomon’s wisdom that he gained after chasing foolishness: fear God and follow him. Elsewhere in Scripture, Solomon writes poetry espousing the joys of loving one woman for a lifetime. His steamy Song of Songs relives his passion for a peasant woman (more than likely his first wife). In Proverbs 5:18, Solomon instructs husbands to “rejoice in the wife of your youth.” And in Ecclesiastes, he concludes, “Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain [brief] life” (9:9). After having 300 wives and 700 concubines, Solomon concluded it was far easier to love the woman you have than long for the woman you don’t. The perfect spouse is the present spouse.

It’s no surprise we don’t see any “and” guys in Solomon’s life. When we look at the tragic figures in Scripture, we notice how hard it is to fill in the blank after the and:

  • Samson and ___________ (someone other than Delilah).
  • King Saul and ___________
  • After he sent all his “and” guys away to battle and decided to grab some rays on the roof, King David and ___________ (someone other than Bathsheba)
  • Jonah and ___________
  • Judas Iscariot and ___________
  • Solomon and ___________

The blank shouts a warning to us across the centuries: “Whoever isolates himself . . . breaks out against all sound judgment” (Proverbs 18:1).

God didn’t design us to drop in the tunnels alone. “And” guys rebuke, refocus, recharge, and remind us that the goal of marriage is not our personal happiness. They rebuke us when we crave the immediate over the eternal. They help us refocus on the mission of marriage: God’s glory—his fame and his name. They remind us that our adversary doesn’t share our address.

Men identify quickly with other guys in most every other context besides marriage. Growing up in the neighborhood, boys form a club. Without guidance, boys join a gang. Guys talk about their “boyz,” “entourage,” and “crew.” Beer commercials highlight a guy’s “wingman.” So how do you find “and” guys for your marriage mission?

Seek them out. Isolated men seek out their own destruction. Wise men seek out trusted companions. Chances are, you’ve got guys who share your affinities for sports, business, or hobbies.

Spend regular time with them. Grab a coffee before work. Go on a camping trip. Get a regular time on the calendar. I’ve learned that if I don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. I can make buddies accidentally, but developing “and” guys requires intentionality.

This last part might be the most difficult: share your scars. Men love to share past pains. Get guys in a room and eventually you’ll hear stories about their injuries. My brother-in law’s legs look like someone beat him with a metal chain. Each divot and jagged scar tells a story about some mountain or road bike accident. “I got this one when a car turned into me. Oh, you should have seen this crash. When my knee skidded on that stump, it felt like someone cut me open with a chain saw.”