5 signs your marriage is on the wrong track

frustrated couple 2

I often talk to couples who are in crisis and on the brink of divorce. Very often, I find that these couples ignored or minimized some “warning signs” along the way that should have been a wakeup call to make some changes in the marriage. If one of more of these warning signs is happening in your marriage, it may signal that you’re veered onto an unhealthy path and need to make some immediate course corrections.

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30 seconds that could change your marriage

30 seconds

You could read this entire blog post in 30 seconds (if you read fast), but I believe these principles have the potential to change your marriage. Seriously. 

These seven simple principles could revitalize your marriage. Give them a try!

7 habits that could instantly improve your marriage

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3 keys to raising boys in a sex-crazed culture

The first time I saw a Playboy magazine, I was about fourteen years old and hanging out at a friend’s house. My buddy had covertly collected a secret stash of magazines under his bed. He had gone to great lengths to acquire the contraband, and his bedroom stash became the stuff of legend among our adolescent crew of hormonally-driven friends.

I was (and am) a Christian, and I had been brought up with parents and church leaders who taught me about the sacredness of sex and the dangers of objectifying women. Still, my raging hormones and weak willpower got the best of me and I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the airbrushed images. Those magazines became a “gateway drug” of sorts and ultimately led me down a dark road towards more graphic pornography.

I’ve been porn-free for a decade, but I’m still living with some scars in my mind and my marriage. Thankfully, God’s grace and my wife’s love (plus some important accountability measures) have helped me escape from the grip of porn.

My wife Ashley and I are now raising four young sons, and we want to do everything in our power to keep them from the allure of porn and sexual sin in a culture where sexually-explicit content is much more readily available than it was in my generation. Some random kid’s smart phone on the school playground can give instant access to much more than what was hidden under the bed at my friend’s house years ago.

As parents, we have a sacred responsibility to our children to teach them about sex and protect them from all the ways the misuse of sex can harm them. The first step is obviously teaching your sons to have a deep and abiding respect for women, but respect alone isn’t enough to help them overcome the bombardment of visual temptations out there. If you’re looking for some practical ways to get started, here are three simple ways parents of boys can equip them to live with sexual purity in a sexually-saturated culture.

3 keys to raising boys in a sex-crazed culture:

1. Don’t just have “The Talk;” have many talks about sex and purity.

Instead of having one big talk about the birds and the bees like many of our parents did when we were growing up, open up an ongoing, healthy dialogue about issues related to sex and porn. Ask questions and encourage your son to ask you questions too. Be as transparent as possible in your responses. Kids don’t expect you to be perfect, but they need you to be real. If you want some practical tools to help guide you through those conversations, check out my post on How (and when) to talk to your kids about S-E-X.

2. Try to understand your son’s thought process.

If you’re a man raising boys, you already know all about the male thought process and mental wiring that makes visual temptation so powerful, but your son is living in a different world than ours, so keep the dialogue open to learn how he’s thinking. If you’re a mom and you’d like to understand more about how and why males react so instinctively to visual images of sex and sensuality, I’d encourage you to read the new book, “Through a Man’s Eyes: Helping Women Understand the Visual Nature of Men”, which is written by my friends Craig Gross and Shaunti Feldhahn. The research in the book is eye-opening, and their insights made me think they’d somehow installed hidden cameras in my brain! This book and accompanying video series could help you understand your son—and your husband, too—on a new level.

through a man's eyes book

3. Monitor every screen in your home.

The average kid sees porn by age ten. Sometimes, kids are exposed to porn on accident, and other times, they’re deliberately looking for it. Parents must be constantly vigilant by setting parental controls, downloading porn-blocking software, and using every tool at our disposal to protect our kids from unwanted images. Know where your kids are going online and let them know you’re watching. Tell them what’s off limits, but also follow up by inspecting. Kids aren’t usually as interested in what you expect as they are in what you’ll inspect.

As you get started…

You may be intimidated by the thought of even beginning these conversations with your kids. That’s completely understandable. I think we all feel that way at first. This aspect of parenting is indeed one of the most difficult, but also among the most important. As parents, we must conquer or own fears and feelings of inadequacy to give our kids the help they desperately need.

Talk to your sons about what honorable manhood really means. I encourage you to take a minute to read my popular post on the 7 lessons that turn a boy into a man (by clicking here).

Don’t feel like you have to do it alone, because there are many great resources to help you and your family. Don’t be passive in this process. Be present. Your kids don’t need you to have perfect answers to all their questions, but they need you to be present and transparent with them. If you’re willing to do those things, and to use the tools and resources at your disposal, you will navigate these complex issues with great success.

To help you in the process, I’d encourage you to check out this new book and video series by my friends Craig Gross and Shaunti Feldhahn.

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

The 5 stages of trust in every relationship

the 5 stages of trust Dave Willis davewillis.org

Trust is the foundation of every healthy relationship. We treat trust like it’s a mystical, undefinable concept, but it’s actually very concrete. I believe this simple explanation of the process of building trust can be a helpful tool for you to measure the current trust in your relationship and also to understand how to take trust to a deeper level. Stronger trust always creates stronger relationships.

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5 surprising teachings about abortion in the Bible

YouTube screen shot links to video

Yesterday, a news story broke where an undercover video was shown allegedly capturing a Planned Parenthood worker brokering a deal to sell the body parts of their aborted fetuses. The woman on the video goes into graphic detail about how the tiny organs are harvested while she casually sips her wine and eats her salad. The viral video has propelled outrage all over the internet and launched hashtags such as #PPSellsBodyParts.

This story has put the abortion debate back into the national spotlight. As a Christian (and a pastor), I’ve never seen abortion as a “political” issue, but rather as a moral crisis. Our President himself has said that answering the question of “When does life begin?” is, “above my pay grade,” so it seems only fitting to look above his pay grade to the Creator of life Himself. Below are the some truths from the Bible about how God views life, death and abortion.

If you’ve never before read what the Bible actually says about abortion, these facts might surprise you…

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The MOST important lesson a parent can teach a child

Unknown

I love my children dearly, and I see so much potential in them, but sometimes they make REALLY bad choices.

They’ll say things with no filter, they’ll do things with no thought to consequences and they’ll impulsively choose things that are harmful to themselves and others. Several of these bad choices have resulted in injury, which is why all of my boys (except for our infant) have made at least one trip to the Emergency Room. There’s never a dull moment around our house!

 

When I watch my kids making poor choices (as all kids do), I’m reminded of the single most important lesson I should be teaching. Of all the lessons and principles I can ever teach my children, the MOST IMPORTANT skill I can teach my kids is the ability to make wise choices. EVERYTHING hinges on the choices we make. I’m always telling my kids, “Wise choices will create future OPPORTUNITIES for you, but foolish choices will create future OBSTACLES for you, so choose wisely!”

7 Timeless Principles for Wise Decision-Making

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4 reasons why we need to raise our kids to love America

4 reasons why we need to teach our kids to love America Dave Willis davewillis.org

It’s never been more popular to beat up on America. Almost daily, there seem to be news stories highlighting our lack of patriotism. Last week, a Gallup Poll revealed that fewer Americans than ever are “very proud” to be American. This week, pop superstar Ariana Grande was shown in a viral video where she said, “I hate America. I hate Americans.”

I almost never write about issues of politics or patriotism, because I believe that God created the family (not the government) to be the foundation of society. With that being said, I do firmly believe that patriotism should have a healthy place in our families, and I’m concerned that our appreciation for our nation seems to be at an all-time low. This trend could have negative longterm impacts on our families, our nation and even the world for reasons I’ll share below.

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7 rules guaranteed to prevent infidelity

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I’ve lived through the tragedy of seeing loved ones, respected leaders and close friends wreck their marriages through a single act of infidelity. Whenever I hear the tragically familiar story of another couple caught in the aftermath of adultery, it’s a wakeup call for me. I want to do everything in my power to prevent infidelity, because I’m convinced that without the proper safeguards, it could happen to anybody.

I know that my marriage, my family, my ministry and my credibility as a advocate for stronger marriages could be instantly shot with one single act of infidelity. I refuse to allow that to happen, and I know I can’t rely solely on my willpower or good intentions to affair-proof my marriage and YOU shouldn’t either!

Below are Five Laws of Fidelity I’ve adopted to safeguard my marriage. These might seem drastic to you, but I don’t think there can be any lengths too great when it comes to protecting a marriage. If you’ll commit to these in your own marriage, you’ll be instantly protecting your marriage, your reputation and your legacy from the scars adultery can cause.

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5 vital ways to connect with your spouse

couple hugging on beach

I sat with a couple in my office recently, and before either of them had spoken a word, I already knew they were having serious problems in their marriage I knew because of their posture, and the distance between them. They never touched each other.

As my wife Ashley and I have interacted with couples from all walks of life, we’ve discovered that one of the biggest problems in modern marriages is a lack of touch. Lack of touch in marriage is both a symptom of other problems and a large problem in an of itself.

I’m not just talking about a lack of physical tough (although that’s a big part of it), but a larger “disconnect” that happens on a physical, sexual, emotional and even spiritual level. I’m convinced there are at least five vital “touch points” in marriage and each of these areas needs frequent attention. These include…

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Ten parenting tips that can instantly impact your family

Dave Willis quotes no perfect parents children moments

When Ashley and I became parents a decade ago, we were pretty clueless about how to take care of this little human being who was now our responsibility. Along the way, we’ve been collecting good parenting advice for mentors, books and anywhere else we can find it. I need all the help I can get, because parenting is the hardest (and also the most important) responsibility I’ve ever been given.

Below is a list of the some of the advice that’s helped us the most. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but these tips have been a tremendous source of instruction and encouragement, and I hope they’re encouraging to you as well.

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