A Man Is Tough And Tender


A real man should be both tough and tender.

Darrin Patrick has a prayer he prays regularly with his son:

“God, make me a man with thick skin and a soft heart. Make me a man who is tough and tender. Make me tough so I can handle life. Make me tender so I can love people. God, make me a man.”

The bible gives us examples of this.

David was a mighty warrior who killed lions, and giants, and bears. David was tough. But he also wrote poetry (psalms).  He made and played musical instruments (2 Chron 7:6). David was tender.

Jesus was a carpenter, he picked fights with religious people, he drove out demons wherever he went, he made a whip and drove out money changers in the temple (John 2:15), and he endured the cross.

Jesus was tough.

But Jesus loved being with little children, he healed the sick wherever he went, he talked about flowers, seeds, and love, and he was affectionate (Phil 1:8).  Jesus was tender.

The following are ways that men can be tough and tender:


  • A man is tough in the way he handles lots of responsibility.
  • A man is tough – he doesn’t make excuses.
  • A man is tough – he works hard and does what he needs to do to provide for his family (1 Tim 5:8)
  • A man is tough towards anyone attempting to hurt or harm women, children, and the weak.
  • A man is tough towards the devil and his demons, setting people free from demonic lying, stealing, killing, and destroying.
  • A man is tough in the way he perseveres through obstacles to lead.
  • A man is tough in the way the he disciplines his children (Prov 23:13).
  • A man is tough in the way he receives correction and sharpening (Prov 27:17, 12:1)


  • A man has a tender heart towards the Lord (2 Chron 34:27, 1 Pet 3:8).
  • A man is tender towards women and children.
  • A man speaks tenderly to his wife (Hos 2:14). He is not harsh with her (Col 3:19).
  • A man is tender – he lives with his wife in an understanding way (1 Pet 3:7).
  • A man is tender – he’s affectionate (Phil 1:8).
  • A man is tender with his children, not provoking them to anger, disciplining and instructing them (Eph 6:4).
  • A man is tender – he engages in acts of compassion (Hos 11:8).
  • A man is tender in the way he receives correction without offense (Prov 27:6).

The following is a video from Stepping Up where Mark Driscoll talks about teaching sons to be tough and tender.

(Image Credit: The U.S. Army)

About Josh Christophersen

Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.

One Reply

  1. Shannon Sullivan

    Thank you so much for this post. I love your citations of scripture….I
    love the way the verse pops up when you scroll over the citation!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was able to read and meditate on each verse in its entirety…thank you. I plan to save this one for forever and share with friends and family. The tough and tender man is the one who gets my heart. I need these traits you describe in my man. Its holy.
    You are a blessing. Keep up the good work!

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