4 signs you’re NOT a nice person

man thinking

One of my favorite comedians is Jeff Foxworthy. His “You might be a redneck if…” jokes hit close to home because I grew up in Kentucky (home of many proud rednecks). We can all laugh at stuff like, “If you walk your kid to elementary school because you’re in the same grade, if you family tree doesn’t have any branches, if you’ve ever stared at a can of orange juice because it said ‘concentrate’, you might be a redneck!”

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4 ways modern dating is killing real love

couple sunglasses

I recently came across a series of interviews with women in their twenties who were commenting on the current dating scene. Most of the women being interviewed were using dating sites and apps like Tinder which have been criticized for promoting casual “hookups” instead of meaningful relationships. Some of these young women were lamenting the fact that they’d lost track of the number of sexual partners they’d had in the previous twelve months, and many of the men on these dating apps would order a “date” the way he would order a pizza…”I’m looking for a petite redhead who is into...”

These women couldn’t remember the last time a man had sent them flowers, but ALL of them had received text messages with explicit sexual images from men. These young women seemed to long for more meaningful relationships, but in the modern dating scene, they didn’t know where to begin. They didn’t seem to fully realize that they were being shaped by an unhealthy cultural mindset anymore than a fish in the ocean doesn’t realize that he’s wet…it’s simply the only world they know.

Their experience is certainly NOT the experience of every person who is out there dating, but sadly, their experience seems to be becoming more the norm than the exception.

I believe that we have both the power and the responsibility to change the modern approach to dating or else we may run the risk of forfeiting the true meaning of love, the commitment of marriage and the stability of family for future generations. It all begins with understanding some of the dangerous mindsets that are being adopted by many in the modern dating scene.

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4 keys to overcoming FEAR

arms raised inspirational

I’ve always been freaked out by mice. I even struggle going to Disneyworld, because I’m afraid Mickey is going to start chasing me! It’s actually not quite that bad, but it’s still a pretty embarrassing fear. At this point in our young marriage, I had done a pretty good job of hiding my fears and frailties from my amazing wife Ashley, but she was about to learn in dramatic fashion that her husband wasn’t nearly as tough as he pretended to be!

She was doing crunches on the floor in the front of the TV while I was doing no physical movement at all lounged in a recliner. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a quick movement in the corner of the living room and I turned my head to see two beady little eyes staring back at my. My fear was staring me in the face.

I gathered my wits and summoned my courage. I was going to take care of this mouse! I refused to be bullied by a rodent in my home in front of my wife! After all, I was the “man of the house” and I was about to teach this mouse a lesson. This was a moment of destiny!

I tiptoed to the kitchen and found a large pot and started moving towards the mouse. In hindsight, I’m entirely sure what I was planning to do with the pot. I think I was planning to capture it under the pot and then I was hoping Ashley would know what to do from there!

As I took a step towards “Mickey,” he saw me and then he made his move. I remember thinking to myself that mice are much faster than you’d think! He started running towards Ashley who was still on the floor doing sit-ups, but he didn’t see her because he was looking back toward me as he ran. Before I could say anything to warn her, the mouse had run into Ashley’s side and scurried his little mouse feet up onto her stomach!

At this point, all chaos broke loose! There was literally shrieking, screaming and crying. It was a full-blown hysterical meltdown. Finally, Ashley had to say, “Dave, pull yourself together! It is just a mouse!” She’s still the brave one in the relationship!

We survived the mouse attack, and we’ve laughed about it a lot since then, but that incident also taught us a valuable lesson. Many of the things that cause us worry and stress in marriage are no more threatening or dangerous than that mouse, but we let them rob of us our peace or distract from the issues that really are worth our attention.

We are not meant to live in fear, so when little fears like mice or big fears like the fear of rejection or even death come knocking, we can respond with more courage if we’ll remember the following truths:

1. God is with you and He is bigger than whatever you’re afraid of!

This reason alone should be enough for us to let go of our fears. Once we realize we’re in God’s hands, fear always begins to lose its grip. One of the Bible’s most consistent commands is simply “Don’t be afraid!” God knew we would struggle with fear, so He’s constantly reminding us that we can live with courage because He’s with us every step of the way.

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Dave Willis davewillis.org quote pray when you feel like worrying keep going

2. There isn’t enough room in our hearts for both fear and faith, so each day we must decide which one gets to stay.

This is an extension of the first point. The more faith we invite into our lives, the less room we have for fear. When you feel like worrying about something, try praying instead. Invite God to replace your fear with faith.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6

3. Remember that FEAR=False Evidence Appearing Real

I didn’t invent this definition of fear, but ever since I first heard it, I’ve remembered it. I hope this sticks with you too. The reality is rarely worse than the fear itself, so let’s take charge of our thoughts and our lives.

Dave Willis davewillis.org quote faith isn't a feeling but a choice to trust God bridge

4. Remember that courage is a choice, not a feeling.

We can’t always control our “feelings,” but we can always control our choices. When we feel fear, we can still choose courage by facing our fears head on. As we do, our fears will start to feel smaller and smaller.

The story above is from the chapter, “Love Conquers Fear” in my new book The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships.

If this post encouraged you, please share it using the links below so we can encourage others too!

The 4 steps to forgiveness

Unknown

As a pastor and blogger, some of the most common questions I hear (both online and in person) have to do with forgiveness. We’ve ALL been hurt before, and we don’t always know how to deal with the pain of heartbreak or betrayal in a healthy way. Most people want to live a grace-filled life free from bitterness or grudges, but they aren’t sure how to do it.

Does forgiveness mean pretending the offense didn’t happen? Does it mean the other person is completely off the hook? 

This is a HUGELY important issue in helping us have healthy relationships and a healthy life in general. Below, I’m going to outline four key steps that need to happen for true forgiveness to take place. If you’ll apply these timeless steps to your own areas of anger or hurt, this could make a world of difference in setting you free and helping you move forward.

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3 things God wants you to know when you feel insecure

Worried teenager woman on the beach in winter

We’ve all felt insecure at times. Deep down, there are still days where I feel like that chubby, awkward, pimply-faced middle school kid who hoped he wouldn’t get picked last when we divided up teams to play basketball. Some people live gripped with insecurity all their lives and they allow it to keep them imprisoned from moving forward in their careers, relationships or live in general. If you’re one of the billions of people who struggle with insecurity on some level, please keep in mind these three simple truths…

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8 reasons modern marriage isn’t working

wedding day couple

As the founders of StrongerMarriages.org and the co-founders of StrongerMarriages.commy wife Ashley and I have had interactions with thousands of married couples (both online and in person), and I’m ready to make a potentially scandalous claim…MODERN MARRIAGE ISN’T WORKING.

Just clarify, it’s not that there’s anything wrong with marriage itself. In fact, marriage is more important than ever as I pointed out in my post on 7 reasons why marriage still matters. The problem is that our modern culture has taken this beautiful gift of marriage, and gone about it in the wrong way. We’re missing the point of marriage, and as a result, families are being built without a solid foundation.

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Why your spouse should NOT love you the most

Jarrid Wilson and his wife

Below is a guest post from my friend Jarrid Wilson. Jarrid is a gifted writer, pastor, speaker, and the author of “Jesus Swagger.” For more info about Jarrid’s family, his resources and his ministry, please check out JarridWilson.com.

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7 ways to communicate LOVE

couple holding hands beach

Love is the most important part of life. We all tend to agree on that, but we can rarely seem to agree on what “love” actually means. I recently wrote a book called The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships where I started by looking at everything the Bible (the ultimately love and relationship manual) has to say on the subject.

Here are some of the most famous words ever written about love. Within in them, God is giving us a timeless roadmap for building stronger relationships. Below are seven very simple and practical ways to put these words into action in our daily lives and our relationships.

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5 keys to a divorce-proof marriage

couple kiss

I recently sat down with a lady whose husband had been carrying on a secret double-life. The couple had faced a steady stream of recent struggles, but the extent of his destructive behavior (adultery, etc.) was much more than she had previously thought possible. She, like so many spouses, now finds herself at a crossroads where she must decide how to proceed. With children involved, she feels stuck a lose-lose situation no matter what she chooses to do next. My prayers are with her and with the many who are facing similar, heartbreaking struggles.

That meeting has had me thinking about the factors that ultimately lead to this kind of crisis. If you find yourself in a crisis already, I encourage you to start with professional counseling and/the resources available at SaveMyMarriage.com. For those of us who are not in crisis, I want to focus on some points on how to prevent a crisis in our marriages. I believe that if we’ll follow these five principles below, we’ll be taking a big step towards safeguarding our hearts and our homes.

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Two words that will keep you stuck

woman stressed stuck

Through thousands of interactions with people online and in person, I’ve seen that many (if not most) people feel STUCK in a rut in some part of life. Maybe it’s in their marriage, or their career, or their physical fitness or their finances. One common factor I’ve observed in almost EVERY person who has felt stuck for a long period of time, is that their conversations are filled with two seemingly insignificant words that are actually one of the biggest reasons they’re staying stuck.

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