Happy Birthday Princess

How do I celebrate the birthday of my Princess? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out!

One of the benefits of having my own blog, while an apologetics blog, is that I can write about what I want. Today, my Princess happens to be turning 27 so I’d like to write about her. I think this is something all apologists can relate to as Chesterton said each of us is a great might-not-have-been. That my wife is is something that I can celebrate.

Princess. I am so happy to see you working to bring about better life changes. I don’t always understand the choices, but I know you want to be the best you can be. I am also thankful for the changes you’ve been making with me and your desire to be an even better wife than you already are.

I’m thankful when I’m sharing the Gospel with people, you can be by my side and can support me so well in it. Everything I do in this world is easier because you’re right there supporting me in it. I tell people that I think my ministry started going better and better once you came along. You inspire such great confidence in me and motivate me so much.

There are so many men in this world you could have been chasing after, but for some reason, you chose to chase after this nerdy little apologist. I don’t understand that. As we often joke about, I was not the type that you wanted at the beginning. Somehow, I found my way into your heart and for that I am grateful.

It is your birthday, but it looks like I am getting the gift. The gift is that I get to be with you. I get to love you and celebrate you. I get to be with you throughout this whole day. One of my greatest joys in life is getting to bring you joy. I want very little for myself these days. What I want is to get to be the best that I can be for you.

Please never take yourself for granted. I don’t care what the rest of the world says about you. You are my Princess. You are my gift. You are the one that I cherish and celebrate.

I am thankful to be your knight in shining armor, your Superman. If anyone messes with you, I am right there. No matter how close that person may be to you, I am there to protect you. I think many people have seen on Facebook that the unwritten rule is that if you insult Allie, you’d better be on your guard because her husband will have no mercy on you.

I don’t know what all else is in store for you today, but today I definitely want you to have a happy birthday. I am happy just getting to be with you and getting the honor of being the man in your life. It’s amazing to think that you’re 27 and I’ve been there through 8 years of your life and been your husband for 7 of them.

I love you, Princess. Happy birthday!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Seven Years

Is today a special day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I was growing up, July 24th was a day like any other day. Nothing special today. One never thinks it will have any special significance at that point, but it’s amazing how time can change things. The one day that was nothing really special suddenly becomes extremely special.

It was seven years ago my wife did something absolutely insane. She gave herself to me in holy matrimony. She promised to be with me till death do us part. That is quite a big promise to make and an even harder one to follow, especially to a guy like me since marriage has really helped to show me what a sinful human being I really am.

These seven years have been full of ups and downs. We’ve had many many struggles, and yet we’ve still stayed together. I think it’s a great testimony to our love because I honestly think many couples might not have undergone all the changes that we have had to undergo as successfully. It’s not because we’re so special though, but because our marriage is rooted in Christ. We have had a Christian marriage from the beginning.

Loving a woman is something very special. Many guys think it consists of what you do on the dates such as showing up well-dressed and with cologne and a gift like flowers and chocolates and other such things. It is that, but it’s more. In marriage, it’s the day to day things. It’s things like being the official bug killer around the house. It’s things like managing a budget and compromising on what to watch on Netflix that evening. Sharing a bed means more than sex together, but it also means sharing a trust with each other and knowing you’re going to for the most part wake up next to each other the next day. (There are times of sickness where we sleep apart and of course, one of us is usually the first to get up the next day.)

And Princess, you have changed my life in so much. You have changed my diet and my confidence level. I couldn’t be doing what I am doing without you. I couldn’t be doing apologetics as well as I am without you. I wouldn’t be learning from the school of hard knocks what it means to be holy without you, because now that you’re here, I see the direct result of my actions.

If anything, I always wish I could do more for you. I shudder when I think about how imperfect my love for you is. As you know, whenever I do anything, I like to do the very best I can, and that includes loving you. It’s always a delight to me when someone compliments me on how much I love my wife. Anyone can study hard and be an academic, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but being a person of character and loving your wife is something different.

Princess. You are worth everything. I often think now that I have so much in life and it requires little to keep me busy. I have books coming in for my show and so that’s taken care of. The next thing I want in life is to keep you feeling loved and happy. I would love to someday take you to Japan like you want or get you all the art supplies that I can. Hopefully some day I will get to do these things.

Princess. I hope today I do more and more to amaze you and leave you feeling immensely loved. I want you to know what a treasure you are and everything I do I don’t think can adequately express the desire I have to please you immensely and show what you really mean to me. Aside from salvation in Jesus Christ, you are the greatest gift that I have ever been given. I love you immensely. Happy anniversary Princess.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Book Plunge: Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God

What do I think about C.J. Mahaney’s book published by Crossway publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many men are already looking at this title and seeing the connection. For us, sex is a form of romance in itself and certainly shows the glory of God. As Stephen and Judith Schwambach say in For Lovers Only, if an atheist ever asks you to prove the existence of God, just say one word. Sex. (It is an argument I’ve been tempted to use.)

Women might not see it as fast. Some do, but not all. Fortunately, Carolyn Mahaney has something at the end for Christian wives, but this book is mainly for the husbands. What does a Christian husband need to know?

If a guy picks up this book wanting a new technique in the bedroom or a new position to try, he’s going to be disappointed. Nothing like that is in here at all. Could it be that it’s simply not needed? Maybe instead of looking at new techniques and new positions, we need to look at new ways to love our wives and let great sex come from that.

If there is one main emphasis I think should be got from the book, it’s something that Mahaney says regularly. Before you touch your wife’s body, you must first touch her heart and mind. While there are high-drive wives, many are not. (And in the words of Mark Gungor, if any man is married to one, then I speak on behalf of all men when I say, we hate you.) A man can wonder endlessly what it can take to get his wife in the mood except forgetting the simplest way of all. Just be a good and loving husband.

That’s why Mahaney recommends some time seriously studying your wife. Oh sure. We men have no problem studying the physical nature of our wives, but find out what makes them tick. What is it that they love? What are they scared of? What do they have great passion for? What size clothing do they wear? What is their favorite color?

For instance, from time to time I like to buy Allie flowers and if I do, I know I cannot go wrong with one thing. I will always try to find flowers that are orange because I know that orange is her favorite color. My Allie also knows to be very careful about saying some small thing that she wants around me. Odds are I will remember it and try to get it as soon as possible.

Does this take work? Yep. Will you screw up from time to time? Yep. Of course, there are other tips to help with that. Regular date nights are encouraged even if you live on a budget. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or even any money in order to have a date night.

The book ends with a section from Mahaney’s wife Carolyn that is a note to Christian wives. It hilariously begins with her at a women’s conference and the question being asked, “What’s the one thing you can do for your husband that encourages him the most.” She knew the answer and yet apparently no one had said it. (Either they were incredibly dense or incredibly shy.) Finally, she just said, “Make love to him.” There were several laughs and then knowing nods.

Carolyn does write about how important this is to a man above all else. A man will settle for a less than immaculate house and a gourmet dinner if it means that he gets that time of passion from his wife. While husbands need to learn about their wives, the reverse is true. Instead of just looking at him as a sex maniac, why not ask why your husband is this way? What does this mean to him? What does it mean when it’s not given? Can you make your husband feel rejected? How will he be encouraged?

I follow a number of Christian marriage blogs and I regularly see men saying they just don’t ask any more. They’ve been told no so many times that they don’t bother. This is really a shame, especially when Paul tells us about not withholding ourselves from one another and both of us belonging to the other. I often tell wives that if they want a major attitude improvement in their husband and see him be more willing to help around the house, do this. Seduce him for two weeks. See what happens.

The Mahaneys have given us a book that is simple, but the advice is very good. Men need to learn again to touch their wife’s heart before touching their body. Perhaps the lesson to the women would be the way to touch his heart IS to touch his body. Now if only both of you can do your part….

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

My Apologetics Story

So what is the story behind Deeper Waters? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A couple of days ago I was listening to my friend Kurt Jaros’s podcast Veracity Hill. In this episode, he was talking about how he got to be doing what he’s doing. This is a question I often ask of my guests on my own show and it occurred to me that since people often refer to my work and tag me on Facebook for apologetics questions, maybe some of my readers would like me to do that for myself.

I was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. To be more specific, it was in a little suburb of Knoxville called Corryton. From an early age, my parents could tell that I was different. I wasn’t really speaking normally like other kids would. I was engrossed in books instead. (Some things haven’t changed.) If there was any book that apparently held fascination for me, it was this big white King James Bible. (This Bible is currently in my office)

My parents thought I was just intrigued by the shapes of the letters and such. One day, they pointed out a word to me that I was curious about. That word was chapter. Again, they see me going over this book regularly and don’t know what to make of it, but I guess if it keeps me content and happy and out of trouble, why not?

One day, my Dad takes me to a department store and puts me in front of a computer. Since I was born in 1980, we’re not really talking about anything high-tech, at least for our time. There’s a blank screen in front of me to type and he’s expecting me to type some gibberish. Before too long, there’s a crowd in front of the computer looking at it. My Dad comes back to see what’s going on.

On the screen are all the books of the Bible in order, spelled correctly, and with how many chapters they had.

The crowd asks if I did this. My Dad doesn’t know for sure, but he knows how to find out. He clears the screen and tells me to do it again. I do it again.

Something is different.

My parents were hesitant to put me in kindergarten because I was still having a hard time with speech. Only my close relatives could translate what I said, and even then it was difficult. Still, I went, but when that year was done, I was put in Transition instead of going off to first grade, and that meant transferring to a different school.

My parents were worried about it, but as it is I fit in wonderfully at this school. I went all the way through Elementary school there. I do have great memories of that time. Second grade was wonderful and I did win my 5th grade school spelling bee. When I was in 4th grade I was in a class split between 4th and 5th grade and there was some competition we had in the class between two groups of 5th graders and us 4th graders. The teacher decided to settle it by having each group choose a representative to come up and answer a long division question on the board. I was chosen for the 4th graders.

The 4th graders also won the day.

A big change that came there was the video game culture. Nintendo was beginning their ascension and that’s all my friends were talking about. In second grade, my parents got me one for my birthday and I became the resident game master before too long. To this day, I’m still heavily in the gaming culture.

Also in 5th grade, my parents got some answers. I had been in an out of a disability center in elementary school. It was there that I was diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum. This was something that made sense to my parents. I didn’t understand it at the time, but later on in my life, it would become much more relevant.

So let’s skip ahead to high school. It was there that I remember having doubts about my relationship with God. It wasn’t Christianity that I doubted. It was myself. Part of it was that I was big into the role playing culture as well. My hobbies including Dungeons and Dragons and Magic; The Gathering. Today, I have no problem with such things really, but back then, I was naive and didn’t know how to answer charges brought against me. This led me into a fear of my salvation which resulted in panic attacks and depression.

Interestingly enough, I was often teaching youth group at the same time at my church.

I was also on the internet at this time and instead of talking about games, I found it odd that I was talking about Christianity with people, and I didn’t know why. I found a lot of people knew and thought differently than I did. I also found a lot of people were actually atheists.

On another note, I was a part of a group of guys at my school called TNT which stood for Thursday Night Talk. We had guys get together with no girls allowed. We had a leader who would talk to us about Jesus regularly and we would have three-hour meetings. Think about this. Guys meeting for three hours being respectful and listening and talking about Jesus. The guys you would think were the toughest would often break down in tears and be crying about mistakes they had made. We saw several people come to Christ. Good times.

I should also explain something about my study habits. I didn’t have them. I was the kid who did my work in class, doodled in a notebook when I was done, came home and played video games all day, and still easily passed all my classes. When I was in my senior year I got elected Most Studious Male Senior. I thought it was odd since, well, I didn’t study.

When I graduated, I had to go somewhere for college. Fortunately, due to my disability Voc Rehab was willing to pay for my college, but that came with an assessment first. The people there thought I was so academically inclined that I should go into some field like engineering. No offense to any readers and friends who are engineers, but that just didn’t interest me. I was interested in Christianity and wanted to go into ministry. They recommended I not take this path. Why?

I would not be able to handle public speaking.

I laugh when I think about it today.

So I went to Johnson Bible College, now Johnson University. While there, I remember speaking to a student once in the student center and asked him what he was studying. He said it was apologetics. I had never heard this term and asked about what it was. He told me and I filed that away.

Like I said earlier, I was doing internet evangelism and realized I needed to learn how to deal with these atheists. I had a friend recommend More Than A Carpenter and I went out and read that and just devoured it. Still, there was something more I was wanting. Then I remembered hearing about this story about a journalist who set out to disprove Christianity and later came to embrace it through his study. The guy was named Lee Strobel and the book was The Case for Christ.

I call that the book that lit my fire.

From that point on after reading that, I was constantly buying any book that I could and devouring it. Something strange happened then. My depression and such started to go away. I was able to be more open. If there’s any professor that saw this take place at the college, it was David Wheeler. He and I regularly talk to this day and he tells about how when I showed up, I didn’t interact with anyone and I was as shy as could be. After apologetics, I was showing up at his office sharing jokes and such. I was also becoming well-known on campus as the apologetics go-to guy.

In some classes, this became fun. One class was systematic theology. My professor and I did not see eye to eye because I thought a lot of stuff he was teaching was horrible. The biggest one was that he said God created man because He needed someone to love. I would raise my hand at this point. My circle of friends around me would watch to see how long I would be able to have my hand raised before I would be called on. Our longest time was 19 minutes.

In a different class, the topic came up of if Moses was based on Sargon. I had read something on this recently so I got up and started saying something. After class, a student came up to me and was very excited. He told me he had heard me quoting Ravi Zacharias and knew I had an apologetics interest. He told me about an apologetics conference at this place called Southern Evangelical Seminary where you could get a Master’s in apologetics.

My path was set.

And also, I decided to join these guys on their trip to the conference. You have to understand what a big step this was. As someone on the spectrum, I hadn’t left my parents house and I commuted to school. I didn’t really go on overnight trips like this. Now I was. My parents I am sure talked to this friend, named Paul, and made sure all was good.

I loved the conference and I think I spent $400 there on apologetics materials. The joke was after awhile that the students in the bookstore were happy to see me come because that meant their tuition would be paid that year. Anyway, my future path was decided at that point.

Also in my senior year at Bible College, I gave my senior sermon. This was to a crowd of the entire student body, about 1,000 people, and all professors that would be present. Remember Voc Rehab saying I couldn’t handle public speaking? Yeah. I wish they could have been there. Even a year later as I was trying to do a Master’s there, I had students coming up to me telling me how much they loved the message.

My Master’s there wasn’t successful, but I decided I’d just go to SES instead. That was in Charlotte, and I didn’t want my parents to worry about me being so far away. Thus, I decided I’d spend a year proving myself. How? I just came home one day and told my parents I had put money down on an apartment in the city. Yep. No discussion there. Just done. The next day, my mother came home with some supplies to help me out.

So I lived in an apartment about 15 miles or so away. I did this to demonstrate that I could handle things by myself. When the time for the conference came, I went by myself. All was going well. I applied to SES and lo and behold, I was accepted. There was some concern due to SES having a strong doctrinal statement and my being an orthodox Preterist. I was just told to not evangelize my views. No biggie. I didn’t come to teach Preterism but to learn apologetics more.

Yet there was one more barrier. Things were much more expensive. Could I really go it alone entirely? Wouldn’t it be nice if I found some friend that could join me? Yet none of my friends in the area cared about apologetics.

Fortunately, I had a friend from a web site named Theology Web who had been wanting to go to Bible College for some time. His name was David. He lived in Missouri at the time, but we talked very regularly and had met a few times. He decided he would join me, so he and his mother come over and meet us in Knoxville and the next day, we set out together to Charlotte where our apartment is waiting.

SES was a great time and before too long, David and I were climbing up the ranks. I had got to know the president very quickly and was being well-known in my classes. The church David and I went to met at the seminary and had a strong apologetics emphasis and before too long, we found there was a lot of talk about these two young guys who were gung-ho about spiritual things.

We also made several friends there. One such was our friend Chris. Today, Chris and I are still good friends. Had it not been for my having a flu bug, I would have been a groomsman at his wedding last December. Chris and I regularly got together to watch Smallville and we would all play a game like Smash Brothers together.

Now if there was anything that was still greatly lacking in my life, it was that I was someone who was always wondering if I would get married one day. Paul from Bible College had been at SES for awhile and he told the Christian Research Institute about me which led to my being hired as a researcher. One day I was heading home from work and remembered that Gary Habermas was coming to SES to teach a module. Gary and I had spoken before when he did a talk at the church at SES. He was helping me with doubt, not about Christianity, but about myself. I was always doubting my own ability in apologetics. I figured I’d go see him.

When I saw him, he told me when we were alone that he and Frank Turek and some others had been talking together. He asked me if I knew who Mike Licona was. Of course, I did. I had read their book together. He asked me if I knew if Mike had a daughter. I did not. Mike had spoken at a debate with Bart Ehrman at SES recently and I remembered he looked awfully young. I was shocked to find out he had a daughter who was 19. (I was a month away from 29)

Gary told me that he and Frank and someone else had been speaking about this daughter. She was going through a hard time and that she had Aspergers made it harder until Frank said, “Well, Nick Peters has Aspergers.” Gary asked me if I would be willing to email her and talk to her.

I did. I wasn’t even really looking for love at the time, but I did become a friend. Like I said, I wasn’t looking for love. Nosiree. Allie was all the way in Atlanta after all. Such a thing would not work out.

Except come Labor Day we decided we were going to be a dating couple.

In October, I went to see her. Her parents were pleased to thrill me and we had a great time together. Our first date was at the Georgia Aquarium. Some friends at SES knew we were going to marry then because Allie actually got me to touch some fish in the aquarium. I never touch anything like that. Never.

I understand when I came back home and was talking about the event, David and Chris were saying they needed to book a wedding chapel. I also had some friends who were identical twins. We would get together every Sunday night and play Smash Brothers and then go bowling with their Dad. I got to tell them all the story about our first date, including how Allie and I definitely kissed on our first date, and was full of excitement. Their Dad wasn’t home at the time and I remember we were playing Smash Brothers and I was unbeatable that evening. My mood was off the charts. Then I heard their Dad had just got home and I wanted to tell him the story. We were nearing the end of that round and my last opponent had one life left so I said it was time to finish this.

My friend was stunned. “What? We’re not even near”

BAM!

Before he could blink I had indeed finished him off.

So this is how excited I was.

Come November, David knew what was going on when we went to the mall together. He wanted some jeans, and I was just going to jewelry stores. There’s really only one reason David knew I would be going to jewelry stores. Later that month he messaged me at work saying he was moving in with someone else. He told me he’d been reading the tea leaves as it were and knew that before too long, Allie and I would not want to have him around since we were obviously getting married. I told him the reality was he wouldn’t want to be around.

For the annual apologetics conference. Allie had come to see me. Her big highlight there was in a special meeting for speakers and their families. She had everywhere been introduced as “Mike Licona’s daughter” and she didn’t like it. This time, when she was introduced, people were told, “This is Nick Peters’s girlfriend.” She liked that title a lot more.

So while I was at work after that, I remember turning to go to my office again and hearing someone say “Mike Licona’s daughter.” I stopped. Then I heard another guy there speaking and saying things like “Wonderful couple.” “So perfect together.” “Probably going to get married.” I came around the corner and said that was more definitely. It was through that that I learned where to go to buy the ring at a good price. My aunt owed me a good deal of money and I had her send it to me so I could buy it.

Back in December, I saw the president of our college. I told him that I had been practicing proposing. When I told him my plan, he told me “I always knew you were a theologian. I had no idea you were such a romantic.” I also saw Frank Turek. I thanked him for being instrumental in my getting to know Allie. He asked how that was going. I told him I was looking for a ring.

Fistbump.

So come December, most everyone else knew what was going on, but Allie was still in the dark. I had already privately called her parents and told them my intentions and got their blessing. I encourage every guy to do this if possible. You’re going to a family and asking for their baby girl after all.

Allie was to spend Christmas Eve with me and my family. (by the way, if anyone is worried about something, Allie and I never did anything remotely inappropriate before marriage.) I picked her up at the Charlotte airport. The place has a star-shaped fountain pool with a statue of Queen Charlotte in the center. I told her I wanted her to see this first. We’re out there and I have the jewelry box in my pocket. I am fumbling around making sure it opens the right way. I don’t want to open it and have a ring come falling on the ground. Finally, I have it all ready and go into the pitch I had been preparing.

“So Princess (The nickname I still have for her to this day). Have you ever thought about being a queen?”

“Only if you’re the king.”

(Isn’t that an awesome anwer?!)

“Well, I guess you’ve made this easy for me.”

Then Allie is just stunned, a look I still remember to this day, as I get down on one knee and open up the box to show the ring and ask “Allie Licona. Will you marry me?”

We were both stunned because my cell phone went off at that time. It’s odd to hear “Somebody Save Me” from Smallville playing as you’re proposing. I just considered it a way to start the adventure. I ignored it of course, but I knew who it had to be. Mom. She always calls at the worst times.

Of course, Allie said yes. I then checked after awhile to see who it was that called. Half-right. It was her mother. She wanted me to know Allie’s plane had arrived early. Her mother has been scared that it would be something I would always bring up over and over.

And if you know me at all, those fears are well-founded.

The interstate to Tennessee had been blocked by a landslide that year, so I had directions from AAA to get around it. It was a long drive through the snow in towns I was unfamiliar with. When we got to our first stop, you have to realize that these were people who had never seen Allie before. Some might have not even known about her at all. Therefore, I told Allie my plan for introducing her.

I went in with my hand tightly clutched around hers covering the ring. We were the last ones to get there due to the snow and all so I came in and said “Hi everyone. This is Allie. She and I have been dating for three months and as of a few hours ago, she’s become somewhat more important in my life.” At that point, I released her hand so everyone could see the ring and then I dove out of the way to avoid all the girls coming up wanting to see that ring.

Our next stop was my aunt’s and we did the same thing. Christmas was great that year. Allie still recounts it as the best Christmas gift she has ever been given.

Our wedding was to be in July. I had arranged it even before I proposed. I knew I wanted to go in the summer because of school. I also knew I wanted to go to Ocean Isle Beach. Chris had shown us that place and I knew it was where I would want to go on a honeymoon. I saw that July 24 was a Saturday and the next day, a Sunday, had a full moon.

Honeymoon with a full moon on the beach? Not passing that up.

I went back to SES the month after the proposal to start classes for that semester wondering if anyone really knew about what had happened with me. I open up our weekly newsletter in my mailbox and see in prayers and praises a note saying “God’s blessing on Nick Peters and Allie Licona’s engagement.”

I guess they know.

In my first class, the professor said he wanted us to all be paying attention. He didn’t want me for instance over there just sitting and saying to myself “I’m getting married” over and over, and then said, “Which is true by the way, congratulations.” Yes. Word was out.

David was my best man at the wedding. No one else could have taken that position. I also surrounded myself with men who could counsel me about marriage, sex, and everything else. Our wedding was a fairy tale wedding. Everything went perfectly without a hitch. It was a beautiful one. Gary Habermas who introduced us was the one who married us.

I used to say the depression was the worst thing I had ever gone through, but I was grateful because it led me to apologetics. I no longer say that. I now say it led me to apologetics, and that led me to Allie. With Allie by my side, confidence issues started to become less and less. I have a woman who actually believes in me and desires me. It’s incredible. When my friend Chris got married last December, he sought me out for advice. Why? Because he saw Allie and I together and he wanted that. It’s great to get a compliment on intellectual ability. It’s great, but anyone can do that with study. It’s something better to be told I’m a good husband to Allie. That’s virtue.

As many of you know, I had to leave SES eventually. When Norman Geisler went after Mike on inerrancy, I couldn’t stay silent. I feared I had made enough enemies that I would not be able to graduate. Today, I am in Atlanta. I assist Mike with his ministry. I’m trying to complete a Master’s in New Testament distance learning through Johnson again. I am busy learning Greek and trying to review books for my podcast, which I am quite pleased with, and doing work for Mike still.

This is also one reason I ask for donations on the show. Employment isn’t available because I have to make enough to cover my health-care and Allie’s. She is on Social Securit disability. It puts us in a tight spot, but I’m happy with her. I love my wife and this has been a growing time for me in learning how to be a good husband. I get plenty of books from authors wanting me to review them. I enjoy that I have got to know several scholars.

So are things in a rough path financially? Yeah, but we’re going to make it. I also like to encourage those growing up and starting apologetics. It took a long time to get to where I was. For a time, I would regularly get myself into situations I couldn’t handle, but it took a lot of study. Yes. I am doing that study now.

Apologetics has been a great gift to me. I get to serve Jesus doing the work that I love and I get to help others along the way. Of course, I also have Allie by my side as well. My friends who knew me before and after know that Allie has had a marked improvement on my life. One such way is food. As an Aspie, my diet had always been restricted. Counselor and friends and parents tried to get me to change it for decades. Not going to happen.

Allie didn’t even have to try.

Do I still have areas to work on? Yes. Allie is trying to work with me on those and I’m sometimes resistant, but if I was detective Monk, she’s my Natalie. She helps keep me sane in this crazy world. She’s someone who stabilizes me when I can’t handle things. People get amazed at the love I show for her in public and on Facebook. I didn’t even realize I had it in me, but I do apparently.

Well, that’s been my story. I haven’t told everything of course. No one could. Still, I want it to be a way that you can get to know the guy behind Deeper Waters. I hope in some ways, it’s an inspiration too, especially if you’re disabled and want ot know if you can ever do anything.

And of course, if I haven’t said it, I love my Princess.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Six Years

What’s there to celebrate? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast I will be interviewing……no one.

Why?

Well I’m essentially in charge of Deeper Waters and if I think there’s a good enough reason, I can take a Saturday off. In this case, I do think there is good enough reason. This Sunday, Allie and I will be celebrating six years of marriage together and if we do manage to do anything for our anniversary, it will likely be on the Saturday before. I have a commitment to my ministry and my podcast, but my first commitment is to my wife.

It’s really fascinating to think that we have been together for six years. Sometimes, Allie asks me what it was like when I was single or living with a roommate. Honesty, I cannot remember much about it. I really can’t. To think of life without Allie in it is unimaginable.

Yesterday I had to drive around town for some dental work. We found a dentist who will work with me on a sliding scale due to financial reasons and is a fellow Christian. I had to drive to another part of Georgia to get a form afterwards. I left that morning around 8:30 and didn’t get home until 6. So much throughout the day, I wanted to get home and just kiss my wife again. It had been so long.

That is still something I don’t take for granted. There’s a lesson that has been said that women need to learn that if you want a devoted husband, a nerd is often the most devoted. We will just be so stunned and amazed that you want to be with us that we never really stop celebrating it. I at this moment have a really good friend who has just popped the question (And she said yes!) and I am talking to him from time to time to tell him about marriage and advise him.

Marriage is a wonderful gift. There is something good in knowing you don’t have to go through life alone. I don’t have to come home to an empty house. In fact, there have been times Allie has been away and I have had to come home to an empty house. Those can be some of my most depressing times. I mean, maybe I can turn on Netflix a lot easier and not have to share things, but I would easily trade that all away just to be with Allie.

Allie has touched my life in so many ways and she is more beautiful to me today than she has ever been. I’m also proud of her work lately to overcome many issues in her own life and to get in better shape. Moving to Georgia I think has been a great thing for her. She has some great set of mentors around here and frankly, Pokemon Go has got her going outside the house and exercising.

Marriage is also transforming. You learn to die to yourself. You learn to put your desires second. Both of you give to one another and give selflessly. Nothing belongs to just you any more. In fact, that is so much true that not even your very bodies belong to just you. There is no place for selfishness here. Marriage is one place where the more you give, the more you get as well.

It’s also a place where you really learn just how selfish you are. You see what you do to your spouse sometimes and wonder “What the heck is wrong with me?” You realize what it means to say “Yes. This person made a commitment to me.” Allie and I in many ways both have trust areas to work on. For me, it’s the swimming pool. I’m terrified of water. Allie isn’t.

For me, the gift of Allie is Allie is one person I feel comfortable being myself around. This is one person who accepts me just as I am and I delight in being myself around her. Of course, while she accepts me as I am, she loves me too much to leave me as I am and wants me to be better and better every day.

So this Saturday, there won’t be a show. I hope we’ll be doing something special to celebrate. It’s a special time. I look forward to six more years. I look forward in fact to sixty years.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Was Jesus Scared?

Did our Lord have fear? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, my wife wrote an excellent blog about fear. In it, she raised the question about Jesus in the garden. Did Jesus have fear as he knelt and asked that the cup pass through Him? I think she handled it well from a practical perspective in that she did make sure to emphasize that Jesus was fully human. One of the great dangers of our modern age is that we have so emphasized the deity of Christ that we have often forgotten His humanity.

Still, what was going on in the Garden? Did Jesus have fear? If we look at the account in Matthew, we can see that Jesus had sorrow. Sorrow itself is not a sin to have. There are some things that should make us sad. We can know how sorrowful Jesus was since He was sorrowful to the point of death. This is the lowest despair you can be in.

And what was it that Jesus was not wanting to experience at this time? Now some might say the crucifixion, and of course we can certainly all agree that “Being crucified” is not on our bucket lists. Still, was Jesus wanting to avoid strong physical pain, even intense physical pain like a crucifixion, and that sorrow of undergoing that was what was ripping His soul apart?

I don’t think so.

I think what Jesus was not wanting to undergo at the time was in some sense a separation from the Father. Jesus did not want to have to experience bearing the sins of the world on Him. It’s a lesson to us that Jesus considered His relationship with the Father so serious that He did not want to in any way bear anything that would be contrary to that relationship. Now what exactly happened when that took place? That is for another blog and something I still think about, but today we are talking about the garden.

The difference in Jesus’s action was that He said not what He willed, but what the Father willed. Jesus wanted to avoid the cross and that was certainly not a wrong desire, but if it had to be that way, He was willing to go through with it. That is what makes the difference. It’s okay to not want to go through some things, but ultimately, what shows Jesus’s character in the face of all of this was that He chose the will of God over His own will.

Keep in mind also that Jesus is to be our example in the New Testament and we are to walk as He walked. That means that we are to choose the desires of the Father over our desires. Now that might be something we consider if we have to face something like being willing to die for Christ, but could it be the greatest challenge in the world is not dying for Christ but living for Him? If you are willing to say that you will not recant and be killed, your struggle ends pretty quickly. What about the struggle of today?

What about the struggle to be a good spouse to the person you’re married to? What about the struggle to raise your children in the fear of the Lord? What about the struggle to live within your financial means? What about the struggle to trust God in all things? What about the struggle to remove evil from your own heart?

Jesus in all of His life gave to the will of the Father every time and lived accordingly. Now to be sure, He did not face everything that we faced, but He is no stranger to temptation either and He knew what it meant. He also knew what it meant to succeed and calls us to do the same.

Jesus was willing to die for the will of God. The question for us today is if we’re willing to live for the same.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What is Oneness In Marriage?

What does it mean that the two become one? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

He sat across from me at the table as we had lunch together. He had met me to discuss a situation with me that had put my wife in a great deal of pain. He was a former professor of mine and a good man I knew I could trust and to be sure, I still know that I can trust him.

And so naturally, we talked about marriage, and this is a professor who has led marriage retreats. The professor told me about how he remembered when I came to Bible College. I was quiet, didn’t look people in the eye, rushed past quickly when spoken to, etc. Yes. I was a weird kid. (Well that much hasn’t changed.) What I think got me to come out of my shell was apologetics. I found something I was good at and a niche I could fill.  The professor told me before too long I was hanging out with professors in offices cutting up and laughing.

And he had to agree with me.

The change in marriage had been much greater than that.

You see, we were at lunch in fact, and in the past my diet had been much more restricted. It was Allie who introduced me to a new world where I could actually go into a restaurant and order items. Now there’s still a lot of work to be done, but that is huge progress.

If that was the only advancement, you might say that’s not much. Fortunately, it isn’t. I can definitely say the most important advancement is character and it makes me think a lot about what it means to be one with the woman I love.

Of course, we could think about sex. We should some. In fact, one thing I told my professor was that when it comes to respect, there’s nothing that makes me feel respected more. Little tip here ladies. Want to have a happy man? This area is of supreme importance to him. I don’t care if you’re doing everything else right. If this area is neglected, your husband will feel neglected

And when we talk about that, there is no doubt a oneness there. It is this oneness that is made clear by the sex act. You see, in true sexuality, you have to give ultimate trust. You bear all to another person and especially in the case of a woman, the body has to be made completely vulnerable. If there is trust there, this is not a problem. This is why I say it should be reserved for a marriage. Only marriage is a bond powerful enough to contain this powerful force.

Speaking as a man ladies, this activity will bond your man to you. There’s something magical and transforming going on. I really hesitate to use the word magical because it sounds so corny, but magical is what it really is. I cannot explain it, but I tell me men about to marry that their world will never be the same.

In that bonding, I contend that more than bodies are being united. There is somehow a transcendent oneness taking place. Marriage has been described as one soul in two bodies and I’ve come to believe it. The actions that affect my wife affect not only her, but they affect me, and what affects me affects not only me, but her as well. Her joy is my joy. Her pain is my pain.

A few years ago, my wife entered a beauty contest here in Tennessee. It was actually a beauty contest for young women with disabilities known as the Miss Shining Star Pageant. It was the first ever and my wife had entered, but with great hesitation. She was scared she’d lose and feel miserable. There was also a talent contest and she worked with a friend of hers on singing. Our families worked together to get her a good dress and my sister, a beautician, came down and helped her with her hair and make-up.

There were four divisions and Allie was in the final one, the one for the oldest, the official Miss Shining Star. Everyone had to answer a question and Allie’s was about what it was like to be a Mrs. since she was the only woman in the pageant who was married. However, as I watched, I noticed a trend. The person who won Miss Shining Star in each category had also won the talent competition.

Allie had not won the talent competition in her category.

Then came the time to draw the name.

And yes, it was Mrs. Allie Peters who won it.

As I write it, my eyes start tearing up. There was only one of us crying the tears of joy that night actually. That was me. I felt Allie being vindicated from all the remarks of everyone else and what they said and did. It was wonderful.

Then there’s the pain.

You see, when someone hurts Allie, I hurt as well. I have noticed that since our marriage, most of my friendly interactions are with other husbands. I still have friends who are single, but a dynamic changed. At one point, I realized it wasn’t just me and some people hanging out. It was Nick and Allie coming together.

So if someone hurts Allie, it hurts me. You don’t get us individually in a sense. What’s done to one is done to the other. The greatest pain I have in life is often knowing that Allie is in pain. The greatest joy I often have is knowing that Allie has joy.

This is also why divorce should be something we should be fighting against regularly. Divorce isn’t like removing a cancerous growth from your body. It should be seen as cutting off not just a minor part of you but in essence, cutting your body in half. It is a tragedy and a rejection. There are some times I am afraid it can be a necessary evil, but we should still even then see it as a tragedy. It is a tragedy that promises of love and fidelity made at an altar before God and men come to naught at any time.

When you make a covenant, you make it for life. When I talk to men who are struggling in their marriages, I always start at the same place. Did you make a covenant? That’s the foundation. Do whatever it is in your power to keep the covenant.

Once you make that covenant, do all you can to build it up. Many of you if you see me on Facebook know that every day aside from Sunday, I’m posting from “I Love my Wife” for Allie. It’s for a reason. If you love your spouse, make sure people who are your Facebook friends know it. Let it be something people talk about. As I’ve told Allie many times, it’s good to hear compliments on apologetics ability and such, but the best compliment I ever get any more is being told I’m a good husband to my wife.

Be building up that oneness. Of course there’s oneness in the bedroom, but it goes beyond that. It’s a beautiful cycle that should be taking place constantly. Marriage is hard work. It’s sacrifice. It’s death to self.

But it is so worth it.

I love my Princess. I wouldn’t want to be one with anyone else.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

The Struggle of Forgiveness

Is the way of Christ sometimes what you don’t want to do? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s no secret I’m a Christian. I think the claims of Christ are true and that He did rise from the dead. I think His way is the way of Wisdom. I uphold all that I believe that the Bible teaches. I try to be as staunch as I can in my moral stances on issues. If you follow the Christian path, you are following the right path.

And sometimes, I don’t want to follow it.

You see, I’ve written before on forgiveness such as will your murderer be in Heaven, a view on justice, and just forgiveness in general. We all think forgiveness is a really great idea. We do. The problem is we think it’s a really great idea for everyone else. It’s not so great when we have to do it ourselves.

I’m going to be a bit revealing in this blog, but I will not give names or details on the people involved and please do not ask for them. These are my struggles though I welcome you coming alongside of me in them. Generally, I tend to be an easy-going guy. If you say something that is hurtful to me, oh well. It doesn’t really bother me. I can take it. I can handle it. In fact, I will often take it as a compliment in the long run. Go ahead and try to say your worst. It really doesn’t get to me.

If you say something about my wife Allie, well that’s something different.

My wife does happen to be a very sensitive person to what people say. Of course, this is something she needs to work on, but it does not change the reality. The biggest way someone can hurt me honestly is to do something to hurt her. It doesn’t matter if the person intends it or not. If they hurt her, you can find my rage immediately increasing. Allie, a Dragonball fan, would tell you that she thinks I go Super Saiyan at that point.

You see, my wife is the most precious human being in my life. She is the one I have built my life with. She is the one I sleep next to every night. She is my confidante, my companion, my fellow traveler on this journey. There is no human being on this Earth that I have a better relationship with than my wife and there is no person on the planet who means more to me than she does. When I see in Scripture that we are one flesh, I think it includes what happens in the bedroom, but it goes beyond. Marriage has been described as one soul in two bodies. I can relate to that.

So to go after Allie is to go after me. Some of you have seen that happen on Facebook. Some of you have seen that when someone insults her, that I immediately jump in and start to deal with the problem. This is one time I break my rule about not posting on Facebook on Sundays.

As it stands right now, I have been thinking about some people who have done things to hurt Allie. This hurt has been severe and it is hurt that Allie is carrying with her to this day and when I see Allie in pain, I am tempted to enter my rage state once again. My Princess is in pain after all and she does not deserve that pain. I am not going to say my wife does everything perfectly. Of course not. I am going to say that I hate seeing her carry pain from other people in the past that she should not have to carry.

When this happens and I’m her husband and protector and the one who is supposed to take care of her, my tendency is to go out and rain down justice on the people who hurt her. I think this is the natural way men think and while I know that’s not really doable, the anger is still there. What happens then when I open my Bible? I see Jesus telling me I ought to forgive, and the standards are serious.

Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

1 John 4: 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Matthew 18: 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

These are serious passages.

Mark Twain said years ago that it wasn’t the passages in the Bible that he didn’t understand that bothered him. It’s the passages that he did understand. This is the same situation. In many ways, I honestly wish that these texts were not in the Bible right now. I wish I could pull a Thomas Jefferson in some ways and remove them. These texts go against everything that I experience when I’m angry at someone hurting Allie and challenge me on a route that I do not want to go down really.

Which means in some cases that no, I don’t want the way of Christ in my life.

And I think it’s important we be honest and admit that.

Anyone of us who says he always wants the way of Christ I think is a liar. They’re a liar because they go against it quite regularly in their own lives. We have all manner of sins in our lives that we struggle with. Greed, Gluttony, Sloth, pride, etc. Sometimes we do want the way of Christ in those. Sometimes we don’t.

So let’s get honest. Intellectually I do know the way of Christ is the best way. I do know His way works the better for my life and He works everything to my good. I know that everything that He does is meant to work towards my good. The intellectual awareness is there, but the emotional longing and the will to do so are not. In some ways, the anger is enjoyable to hold on to. Anger can be like a drug in that way. What am I to do on this case? This is my resolve.

First off, I wish to thank my friend Dr. Clay Jones for his advice in this area when I talked to him. One of the things to remember is that it’s not really bad to want justice. We should all want justice. Yet I am to think “What if I was the person in the situation? Would I want God to whack me upside the head and get my attention?” If it meant getting on good terms with God, yes I would. What’s wrong with praying that about the persons I have anger against? What’s wrong with praying that God gets their attention?

Second, the more you pray this kind of prayer, the more you will start to have some sort of empathy for the person. Even though I do not want to, I have to pray that God blesses the people who have hurt my wife in this way and in turn hurt me through their actions. Does that mean I am being insincere with my prayers? I don’t think so. It’s praying something and saying “God, my heart is not here right now, but I know that this is where it needs to be. Please help me to get my heart where it needs to be.” If we waited to do the right thing that was very difficult for us to do when we felt like it or when we wanted to, we would never do it. Part of the process of walking rightly is learning to do things when we don’t want to do them. It is denying our wants for the greater good that we know we ought to pursue.

Third, to forgive does not mean to forget. It does not mean that I treat things like they never happened. It could be that I might want to keep people that hurt Allie far away from her until they prove themselves worthy of her and earn my trust there again. If they do not, I won’t let them near her any more.

Fourth, I have to learn to really deny my own feelings and experiences on the matter. This is also where I have to trust in those who are outside of me. I mentioned Dr. Clay Jones earlier in this post. There have been others who have been friends in this journey and know all that is going on and have provided the advice. My wife and I have found that Celebrate Recovery has been quite helpful. Allie gets the help she needs from a group and I get to go to a family support group.

Fifth, I do have to realize the place Jesus is to have in my life. When I am caught in the vortex, what I am dealing with is more present in my thoughts than Christ is. This is something that I have to change in order to get past what I deal with. I have said before that one of the greatest helpers you can have when you are going through a crisis is to have good theology. If we could all realize how we are seen through the eyes of God for just one moment of time, we would never see our lives the same way.

Forgiveness is the better way however despite what I feel at the time because forgiveness releases me from the anger. The anger can be like a cancer tearing away at one’s soul ripping out some of the humanity that is there. The people involved that I am angry with don’t even have to know about the situation, but they are getting free rent space in my head and they are getting a power over me that they do not deserve to have.

And you know what? This also works out better for Allie. Allie has her own emotional turmoil. How is it going to help her to know she can handle hers if I do not handle mine? How am I going to tell her to stop giving people free rent space in her head if I don’t stop giving them free rent space in mine? How am I going to tell her to not listen to her emotions and feelings if all I do is listen to my emotions and feelings?

Ultimately, this is the way of Christ. It is to die to ourselves. Many of us would rather do anything, including go through death itself, rather than to die to ourselves. It is a constant struggle to bow down to Jesus and say He is Lord and say that come what may, we are going to follow Him.

It is a struggle, but it is not optional.

And if this is also you right now, you’re not alone. I’m a fellow traveler. If you ever read this blog and think I’m a super Christian who never has these struggles, well you’re just wrong. I have flesh and blood like you do and if you cut me, I will bleed like you will. I have to learn to walk the better way. It is better for myself, better for my Princess, and most honoring to my Lord Christ.

The Kingdom is worth everything.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Happy 25th Princess

How now shall we live? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I held off on writing this blog today because I wanted it to be a surprise. You see, as many of you know, my family doesn’t exactly have a lot of money. My wife Allie was quite sure I would not be able to do anything to celebrate her 25th birthday today, and she was quite depressed about that. I took her that evening to the local mall where a friend wanted her to go shopping. Well, that was the story at the time. In reality, that’s the same mall where our church meets us and it was at that mall that we had a secret surprise party waiting for her. She loves me now, but she’s also a bit upset I left her miserable throughout the day.

It really is good to be alive. Birthdays are a reminder of that, but they can also be a time to ask what we are doing with the time that we do have. The time that we have been given is a gift, and are we really using it on the most worthwhile pursuits? Oh I know there is time for fun and frivolity, but we have to ask what life really is all about. When we stand before God, we will have to give an account of all that we have done. In fact, we’re told we will give an account for every word and action and if more of us spent more time thinking about that, we’d probably take matters a whole lot more seriously. Let’s face it. Many times, the last thing we take seriously is God.

Yet if we celebrate our birthdays, does not God celebrate them more? Does not the giver of life and the source of life and the God of life Himself celebrate life? There is a point where our culture is very self-centered where we talk about how much God loves us over and over, but we are right in saying that He does. The place we stop is usually we see that as something we joyfully receive instead of realizing that we are to respond with our very lives. Our lives should be seen as examples of the love of God, and not love in the sentimental touchy-feely sense, but in the idea of a seeking of the good. Marriage is a great example of this. Marriage is one relationship where both persons are to live for the good of the other and when both do this, both will be pleased.

Birthdays are some of the days we take to celebrate each other because while we give gifts on that day to the person, we do so because we believe that the person is already a gift to us. We want to celebrate them and their life. I am thankful today for 25 years of life that Allie has been given and I’m thankful that I have known her for so many of those years. I look forward to all that the future has for her. Love your Princess. Happy Birthday!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Five Years

What does a man learn after five years? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I know my wife has the fruit of the Spirit of self-control.

After all, as of this moment, I’m still alive and writing this blog. Somehow, she has not managed to kill me yet.

But it’s been five years now. As I write this, it’s around 11 AM EST and I’m remembering it was technically 2 PM EST when our wedding started. It’s hard to really think about what goes on on the wedding day. I just remember being so rushed. I even took an Ambien the night before and got an hour of sleep in and we have a picture of Allie chugging a five hour energy drink in the bridal room. I was traditional to the end and didn’t see her in her dress until the doors opened, but I remember one of my friends coming in who was a groomsman and telling me “You have no idea what you’re missing!” Our service went with no problem and yes, even the Superman theme playing as we walked down the aisle together. (And contrary to what you might think, it was HER idea.)

My best man wrote an incredible toast that had me laughing my head off during the reception. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to catch the garter at the wedding and the youngest guy trying to catch it did. Sorry friends. You’re going to be waiting a long time it looks like. (Meanwhile, it’s my understanding that the lady who caught the bouquet was engaged and did get married next.) Needless to say, Allie and I were also traditional in waiting for marriage, so yeah, we didn’t stay long at that reception.

Our honeymoon was spent at Ocean Isle Beach. It’s incredible that Allie got me into the water much further than normal in the ocean and in the swimming pool. This is incredible because honestly, I’m scared of water in that capacity. I don’t have a clue how to swim and I’m terrified of going underwater, but hey, miracles happen.

But after all of that, comes the part of learning to live together. So what has been learned? Over the past five years?

Marriage can be hard work. Recently, some of you may note that a prominent internet blogger responded to a post I wrote on him concerning polyamory. I plan on a much fuller response, but I remember seeing that a relationship should not be hard. After all, friendship isn’t hard. (Though I contend that it often is. It’s extremely hard on me when I see my friends doing very foolish things.) Why should marriage be hard? Well that depends on how you view marriage. If you view marriage as a relationship that can be ended at any time and is not a lifelong commitment, well no, it’s not hard. If you view marriage as a place where you can get your needs met, well no. It’s not going to be as hard either. Of course, it will be hard on the other person if they view marriage in either way, but if you don’t, yeah. No biggie.

But then, you have to ask if it’s really marriage.

As I said yesterday, marriage is all about the death to self. Marriage is also about your sacred space area. It’s about viewing your spouse as someone sacred and treating them as if they were sacred. Remember in the Old Testament about how elaborate the system was to carry the Ark of the Covenant? After all, the Ark represented where God dwelt with His people. You know what? You and your spouse if you’re Christians both represent where God dwells with His people. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. You really matter body and soul.

In fact, I’m currently working at this moment on a theology of sex for Christians and I’m considering having my Master’s research program be on the resurrection and sexual ethics. So that means in both cases, in preparing for this, I’m having to do a lot of thinking and reading and studying about sex. Yep. I know. I really suffer for Jesus. You all just pray for me in the midst of this trial and tribulation of having to actually spend time studying sex.

This also brings to mind what I’ve heard Robert Gagnon say that makes me treat things so much more seriously. What you do to yourself, you do to your spouse. It’s tempting to act like each of us is our own when it comes to marriage. We’re not. Allie’s body belongs to me, for instance. Well geez Nick. That sounds awfully sexist. If it ended right there, you would be right, but my body also belongs to her. When the Bible says we are one flesh, it really means that. That’s one reason marriage is a lifelong covenant. Cutting off one person from the relationship is like cutting your own body in half.

It also means you share pain and you share pleasure. Allie’s pain is my pain. Her pleasure is my pleasure. My pain is her pain. My pleasure is her pleasure. It’s important to know that that extends however to if it’s in line with what God says. If her pleasure is something that is hurtful to her, then it is pain to me. The same goes with me. It really has to sink in what that one flesh means.

In fact, in some marriage ceremonies of the past, the bride and groom would say to each other “With my body, I thee worship.” Marriage is in essence you and your spouse sacrificing yourself to one another. The thing is, when you sacrifice, you actually find your joy, because you get the joy of your spouse and that joy becomes your joy. This is one reason sexuality is meant to bring a lot of joy. The woman gives a sacrifice in which she has to make herself totally vulnerable to her husband. The husband makes a sacrifice in which he takes his strength and in essence, gives his life to the woman.

Marriage can be hard because we all look out for #1, but the truth is when we die to ourselves, we find our real joy. It’s odd, but I think there was someone years ago who made a similar statement about dying to yourself. Maybe he was right on something….

And you know what? That joy is intense. I’ve pointed to the joy of sexuality already and in many ways, it’s hard to get more intense than that, but I would let people in on a secret that I think is true. Intimacy is better than sex. It’s just that for a man, sex leads to the best intimacy that there is. It’s not always the same for a woman. Of course, a woman does and should enjoy the sexual aspect, but it won’t necessarily be in the same way.

But there is much joy also in the day to day little things. There’s joy in sharing a bed with someone in the evening and knowing they’ll be there when you wake up. There’s joy in riding in a car often with someone else. There’s joy in going to a church service together. There’s joy in having time spent with other couples. (It amazes me that before I married, most of my time with others was with single friends and now most of it is with other married couples.) There’s joy in sitting down and watching a favorite TV show together. There’s joy in the evening time of praying and reading the Bible together.

And when you suffer, you don’t truly suffer alone. (Well with some exceptions. Allie does like me in quarantine if I have the flu) If one of us is in the hospital, the other is right there. The pain is shared. You know that there will be someone there to take care of you. You know you have someone you can go to for advice and comfort. There have been times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and just not feeling the best and realized that just my wife putting her hand on my and giving me some light assurance is all that I need to calm down again.

Marriage is transforming, but like the grace of God, it will only transform us insofar as we change in response to it. (Please don’t turn this into a debate on free-will either. I have zero interest in that.) That change is painful sometimes, but it’s also for the best. Yet we can be an inspiration to one another if we are willing. Allie has inspired me to change in many ways for the better. I hope I’ve done the same for her. Many of you could even attest who knew me before Allie came along to the remarkable change you’ve seen in me since she’s arrived. Change like I said can often be painful, but we can each serve as an instrument to the holiness of our spouse.

By the way, this change that I’ve spoken about, the Bible speaks about a husband loving his wife as Christ loved the church and the wife loving her husband as the church loves Christ. That requires both be self-sacrificing and also, this is one reason we do not change the definition of marriage. Changing the definition of marriage changes the Gospel. If you’re a non-Christian, you can say “So what?” to that, but if you’re a Christian, you should take that extremely seriously.

It’s also why marriage is 100-100. We can often look at what’s going on in marriage and say “It doesn’t work. It’s like saying a sledgehammer doesn’t work to drive in something if you just use it to lightly tap. The fault isn’t marriage. The fault is the people. No one truly gives 100-100, but everyone should strive to and if we’re Christians, we should know that that is the path to true happiness. Our Lord calls us to lay down our lives if we need to for the Gospel. If we do not show that love to our spouse, who we have seen, how can we show it to Jesus, who we have not seen?

In light of that, marriage has for me been a time of learning. I get to have a big mirror put up before me every day that says “See? This is what you are like.” I have spent a lot of time giving and receiving forgiveness, but most of it has been receiving. There’s still a lot to do and if you’re doing marriage right, it should make you strive to be more holy and live a life pleasing to God.

So in the end, love to my Princess. It’s been a good five years and I hope we grow more in holiness for when year ten rolls around.

In Christ,
Nick Peters