The term comes from the air-force where a pilot will have a wingman fight with him in battle. Wingmen protect each as they accomplish a mission together. The older term for this concept is “best man.” But now “best man” is primarily a ceremonial role. The ancient term for this same concept is “friend of the bridegroom.”
The role of wingman starts way before the wedding. In fact it can start before the relationship starts. The Wingman assists from the beginning of the relationship through the wedding ceremony.
Lets call the wingman “Walter.”
His single friend is Sam.
Sam needs a sounding board. He may need to work out how he feels about girls by talking through it with a trusted buddy. Yes ladies. Guys do talk about this sort of thing but only to those they trust. Walter listens. He gives honest feedback. Above all he does not betray Sam’s confidence.
Pursuing a woman is not easy. The path to marriage for men is paved with rejection and pain. A good wing-man encourages his bother to try again even after devastating failures. Sam doesn’t need hollow platitudes. He needs hope, encouragement and prayer.
As we discuss in other posts, interacting with godly girls in conservative communities is challenging. To overcome these challenges Sam needs Walter’s help to create opportunities to interact with God fearing single ladies. This may mean throwing parties, sending out text messages to invite people to play ultimate Frisbee or going out to eat after church.
So, Walter throws a party and Sam shows up and sees Sally, who he doesn’t know very well. She’s popular and Sam wants to break through the crowd and talk to Sally but he needs help.
Walter, can help by running interference for Sam by engaging the people around Sally in conversation. This helps Sam and Sally talk when they may not have had the opportunity otherwise. If Sam is shy this sort of assistance is particularly helpful.
Shy guys can make faithful husbands.
They just need help at first.
So, Sam, Sally and Walter are in a group of people talking at the party.
Remember, Sam wants doesn’t know Sally well and doesn’t want to lead her on unnecessarily. Sam doesn’t know if he likes her or not but he wants to get to know her better.
Walter can help by asking intentional questions that help Sam get to know Sally better. This is not to say Sam asks no questions. But Walter can ask the potentially awkward questions. When this is done well, Sally is none the wiser.
Walter, Sam and Sally are now talking just the three of them at the party. This is when it may be a good idea for Walter to disappear. He may excuse himself to get punch and then get caught up in a different conversation and not get back. This gives Sam and Sally a chance to talk alone at the party which they may not have gotten otherwise.
As Sam and Sally’s relationship deepens Walter keeps Sam accountable to make sure that Sam is honoring Jesus in their relationship. Is Sam walking in the fear of the Lord? Walter asks Sam tough questions and insists on honest answers.
It is important for Walter not to outshine Sam. His job is to make Sam look good. If Walter is stealing attention he failing as wingman. John the Baptist is a great example of how to do this well. His job was to prepare the way for the bridegroom Jesus. This meant getting out of the way at the end.
It is the wingman, or best man, who stands next to the groom at the wedding. Where would the groom be without him? Maybe still single. Maybe not. Either way Sam knows he has a true friend in Walter.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”