Supernatural will always be a wealth of countless musings for me. Recently I watched the final episode of season 8 and saw what has to be one of the most powerful scenes in the series.

Now, the relationship between Sam and Dean is the epitome of guy-guy friendships. These guys are close — brothers with no one else closer to each other than each other.

Their brotherly bond is the kind of relationship I’ve always wanted, to be honest.

Of course, with their being so close there must also be a great amount of friction between the two. After 8 seasons, there is a LOT of built-up anger over hidden hurts and pent-up aggression. And in one of the final scenes, this comes to blows.

To give some context, Sam is enduring trials to banish demons from the earth, a task which will require him to die. Dean finds out and stops him, not wanting Sam to die even at the expense of saving the world.

And, well, check out the first 3 minutes of this clip.

I’ve watched this episode several times and still don’t know which gets me more: Sam saying that his biggest sin was letting down his older brother or Dean screaming to Sam that he will always put Sam first in his life.

I find myself unable to figure out if I want to be Dean or Sam in this scene.

Do I want to have a brother I care about that much that I will declare putting him above all else? Or do I want to have a brother saying those words to me when I beg forgiveness for all the times I failed him? Or is it even healthy or appropriate to want either of those things?

Truth to be told, I have made a pledge to put someone else above all others — my wife. And she has made that pledge to me, too. That should be enough, and that should be all I ever desire.

Yet something twinges in me during the scene above. And while I know no one comes before my wife, I can’t help but believe that my desire for a close brother isn’t all sinful. A close guy friend is healthy, actually.

Having someone to walk with me as I continue to learn about being a husband and a father.

Having someone to talk to about anything that my wife may not be able to understand.

Having someone to hold me accountable all the time.

I have several friends who each has a small share in this, but I find that it is not quite sufficient at times. Perhaps a true Sam/Dean brother figure will never come my way. But I pray some lesser form of it does — someday, anyway.

Which kind of brother do you want more: Dean the older brother or Sam the younger brother? How do you relate to your own brothers or close male friends? Do you tend to help them more, or do you rely on their reaching out to you?

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  • Thanks for writing about this. It’s a subject near to my heart and something I’ve thought a lot about. Before my wife and I were married I told her this “I love you and we will have a great marriage but there is a part of my heart that you will never satisfy and can only be satisfied in close friendship with men”. She was initially hurt by that statement. I’ve told her that several times since then and 5 years into marriage she’s starting to get it. It’s no different than how women need close relationships with women. But what’s more there are clear biblical examples of this bond that we often overlook. Everyone knows David and Jonathan. But also, Jesus and “the disciple whom He loved” which some say was John. It’s true. There are conversations I CANT have with my wife. There is physical and verbal affirmation that satisfy from a brother that my wife can’t reproduce. I think we are built this way. Just rare to hear any guys talk about it. It’s a worthwhile discussion for sure. So thanks for opening up the doorway to the conversation!

    • I definitely agree, Jaye. My wife and I were blessed to each understand the value of same sex friends. She has a best friend who blesses her so much. I’m glad your wife has been willing to grow with you in this process! That is a huge blessing!

      • I wouldn’t say she’s totally on board and willing to grow with me. Most of conversations we have about this topic are fights because she doesn’t get it or me at all and it leaves me frustrated, angry and pissed most days. But I’m not quitting. Just thankful for YOB!

    • Jaye—I’ve just read many of your posts and my heart resonates with what you have written on so many of them. I totally agree that I need my close intimate (not sexual) relationships with other men, and that my wife can’t possibly meet that need. I love my wife with all my heart but I need the verbal affirmation and physical touch from guys to validate my masculinity and manhood. I have found my male relationships to be incredibly helpful, even necessary. Thanks, Jaye, for your total transparency and vulnerability. You are refreshing and life-giving! By the way, I’m also in full-time ministry so I can relate to you on that level as well.

  • Thanks Dean! I think I would like a combination of the two brothers, but hearing those words from the older brother would probably be most healing. With close friends, I tend to help more, but I see that starting to change. That change is welcome and appreciated.

    • Glad to bless you, friend! I see where you’re coming from- also being a typical helper, I find myself wanting someone to help me from time to time. Change is for sure a good thing at times.

    I definitely long more for the older brother than the younger, since I don’t have the former and do have the latter, though I’ve often wondered what it’d be like to also have a younger brother who’s at least 10 years my junior. Someone to mentor who’s currently experiencing some of the same stuff I wrestled with a decade ago, now that I’ve finally started figuring myself out all these years later.

    • That hug kills me every time too…
      Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter, Tom. Perhaps God will bring along a “little brother” for you in the future whom you can mentor.

  • Reminds me of the last episode of Season 1 (2007) of the original “HEROES”, where Peter and Nathan give their lives for each other. I was bawling through the whole episode, wishing I had a man who felt like that about me, and vice-versa. Powerful stuff.

    • I love how expressively TV shows display these strong male friendships. HEROES was indeed a great show that also had a wealth of relationship ponderings. Thank you for sharing!

  • I wish so bad that I had an older brother like Gordie’s in Stand By Me. The scene where he flashes back to a memory of his dead brother in his room where he gives him a hug is so heart warming and heart wrenching at the same time. I couldn’t even begin to tell you the swell of longing in my heart every time I watch that scene.

  • I have an older brother (10 years), and 2 older step brothers (5 years – they are identical twins). My memories from childhood are more of being intimidated by them, disappointing them because of my “meekness”, and being encouraged to drink/do drugs. I have no doubt back then that I wanted/needed one of them to be Dean. Today I am not close to any of them. I know I harbor resentments (such as the time my brother introduced me to smoking opium – when I was 14 and the repeated times he told me how “easy” I had it, and how “spoiled” I was). No real way for me to ever reconcile that – and I chalk it up to another failed relationship.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Jim. I’m so sorry for what you endured form your brothers. I do understand how those relationships are broken beyond repair- hence why I still struggle with healthy close male friendships. I pray you find healing from the abuse you endured.

  • Random guy I relate to in TV is Rory Williams in Doctor Who. Not really sure why, though.
    One of my friends just confided in me and I’m really struggling to process how I can help him. He really, really needs someone to be there for him and I just feel so inadequate.
    (I’m including this paragraph to show how much can change in the course of an hour, because I wrote this about an hour ago.
    Anyways, when it comes to my close guy friends, I feel like I am always the one initiating the conversation. And while I’m often looking for support and looking for someone to back me up or just talk to, I sometimes feel like I’m pushing it or that it’s to some extent a one-sided friendship.)

    • Rory is an awesome character- loved his time on Doctor Who! My personal favorite companion is Donna Noble.
      Anyway, I understand feeling inadequate. Oftentimes, though, all you need to do is simply be there. For me personally, that’s often all I want- for someone to simply be present for me. I pray you can find confidence in that and be there for your friend.
      Also- be ready to join the incredible fandom of Supernatural. We’re excited to have you join us.

      • Yeah, Donna was one of my favorites, too! And first episode of Supernatural, check! I just hope I don’t end up watching too much Netflix this summer. There are too many good shows to watch! I actually need to get out and talk to real people, though 🙂

  • I couldn’t agree more Mike!!!! I have a straight friend who kisses me when we meet or say goodbye. (It’s very rare I know). We don’t ALWAYS kiss and especially not around other people because of the stigma the church has. And it’s sad. Someone said to me recently “if you want to change the culture of the church (community you’re in) then you should DO IT around them”. Understanding of it doesn’t happen until
    There is discussion and discussion won’t happen until it’s happening in front of them. Now I should say – it’s not a make out session. Just a simple kiss (yes, on the lips) in greeting that has ZERO eroticism in it. This has built my confidence so much in straight men that it IS possible to have in a safe godly friendship.

  • Dude… I feel you here. This is perhaps my favorite post that you’ve written, and the one that I relate with the most.
    In our culture, a wife is put first ahead of all others in a man’s life. While I believe this is good, it shouldn’t end there. A wife is not the only human being on earth that a man needs. We do need friends — men — who understand us in ways women, even our wives, can’t. We need close men who can keep us accountable and help us in ways that women can’t. And it needs to be reciprocal. We need to help other men in the same way.
    Unfortunately, because our culture says only the wife should be #1 in a man’s life, and nobody else should even come close (isn’t that a fantastical idea right out of a woman’s romance novel?), every one of us — men and women — have grown up with this expectation and most of us think it’s normal. So, men tend to avoid close relationships with other men, and women feel jealous and threatened if a man needs anyone else except her. This isn’t always the case, of course, but it is quite often.
    We need to break out of this mindset. It’s just wrong. I love my wife, but I also love my kids, and I love my parents, and I love my brother, and I love my friends. There’s no reason in the world for any of them to feel jealous or threatened, or for me to feel ashamed for needing more people around me than just my wife. Let’s hope more people will be able to accept this fact of life.

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