My Great Gift

What is going on when treasuring takes place? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday on her blog, my wife wrote a very touching piece about me. I figure I should do the same. What we have goes both ways. It’s quite unique also because in many ways, we’re so very very different.

People who know me know that for the longest time, my great question in life is would I ever get married. When I first entered the Master’s program at Bible College, I was invited along with the other students to attend a dinner at the president’s houses. Others were told to bring their spouses. I couldn’t, so I asked if I could bring my parents, which was fine. When I got there one of the professors did ask me “Nick. How did you get through here without getting married?”

Yeah. You’re not the only one asking that question.

Then some of my friends around me started to marry. Okay. I tried to live with it, but I was often really hurting. It’s selfish, yes, but I was thinking about myself. When is it going to be my time? When I meet guys who are still wondering that, I totally get it.

Eventually, I moved to Charlotte. There I started getting in touch with several apologists and I did have a new circle of friends. Most of them weren’t married. Among the apologists I had got to meet was Gary Habermas and we emailed from time to time.

One day I was getting off of work from the Christian Research Institute and heading home. I remembered hearing Gary was going to be teaching a seminar at SES, my seminary then, on the historical Jesus. I thought I’d drop by and just say hi to him. While I’m there, he asks me if I know who Mike Licona is. I tell him I do. He had debated Bart Ehrman there and he co-wrote a book on the resurrection with Gary.

Gary tells me that he was talking with some others about Mike because he had a daughter who was going through a hard time. Frank Turek was among them and I think Alex McFarland might have been another. In the conversation, it came up that Mike’s daughter, Allie, has Aspergers. Frank said “Well, Nick Peters has Aspergers.” Gary asked me if I’d like to contact Allie and help her out.

I agreed to do this and so we emailed. I was nothing that Allie was expecting. You see, Allie was thinking apologists were all these high academic types and sharing similar interests would not be there. She was surprised. When she started talking about playing Pokemon, I was right there. I had played the games too and knew about them. We could talk about Final Fantasy as well. When she got silent one night during the conversation on AIM or Facebook, I started worrying she had done something. It might be a bit stalker like to some, but I didn’t want to take chances. I found her number on her Facebook and gave her a call. She didn’t know who it was, but it touched her when she saw how concerned I was for her.

Interestingly, she had been wanting to get back together with an ex when I came along and she just wanted me to be a friend. Besides, she saw my Facebook picture. It said nerd all over it to her. She did not want to be with a nerd, unless he was Asian.

Well, that was the plan at least.

More of the story can be found on Facebook, but let’s just say that when she told her mother we were dating, it was Labor Day. Gary and his wife Eileen were visiting the Liconas then. Eileen turned to Debbie, Mike’s wife, after Allie left and said “summer wedding.”

She was right. Within a year, we were married.

Her parents had seen us as a perfect fit, and they were right. Of course, I am nearly ten years older than Allie and normally, that would give suspicion, but they saw the character of the guy who was dating her. No matter what, I always wanted to do more and more to please Allie. Shortly after we got engaged, Debbie put up a status on Facebook about Mike building her a porch and how her husband spoils her. When I said something about her future son-in-law doing the same, she replied that Mr. Peters is the king of spoiling.

Hey. My wife’s love language is gifts. I like to get her things.

People don’t enter marriage intending to change, but they do. Both of us have changed, but I can speak firsthand about the changes with me, and people who know me have seen the change. I have a greater maturity that wasn’t there before. Am I still a tease and a prankster and everything else? Yes. At the same time, there is a deep deep commitment.

You see, I did something unusual. I trusted myself to a woman. Marriage involves the greatest trust between two human beings. To be fully intimate with your spouse means you have to be open. If you are not open, you do not get the full joy of loving and being loved. You are depriving marriage of all that it could be for you.

I found that trust was totally transforming. No earthly love has had the effect on me that Allie’s love has had. Nothing has made me strive to want to be a better man. I did this so much that I made my own Facebook group for Christian men who are married, engaged, dating, or hoping to date and marry to help us all learn how to be good husbands.

I found I was more confident in ministry as well. When Allie gives me trust and affirmation and lives it out, I am able to do most anything. There’s honestly nothing like it. I can walk with a lot more confidence in my own ministry because I have such great affirmation from her.

It’s totally transforming and I don’t understand it. I see myself as someone who is striving to be rational in all things and understanding all that I can. Still, I do not understand this love. I don’t think I ever will, but I think I will always try. I do not understand what it is about Allie that drives me crazy in such a good way. I have loved this woman so much, and I do not still understand really what it is.

In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest says at one point “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.” I disagree with that. Love is indeed a great mystery. It is something we grasp to understand, but I do not think we can say we have ever arrived. How could we? It is the nature of God after all.

In so many ways, I can say Allie gets me to let my guard down. Can I get hurt sometimes? Yes, but I let it down still because Allie’s love is worth it. Sure we have our disagreements and arguments, but they don’t last. We come back to our foundation every time of our love for one another. Allie is someone I don’t think I have to hide around.

One time we were in New Orleans. We had been invited to attend the Defend The Faith Conference and I gave a talk there on reaching youth. While at a table one night having dinner with other attendees, Gary Habermas was there as was Tim McGrew, who it was my great honor to meet there. In fact, Allie describes our relationship as a bromance. Someone at the table said something about B.B. Warfield going on his honeymoon and his wife getting struck by lightning and being paralyzed and he took care of her till death did them part. Gary just says “Huh. So Nicholas, would you do that if that happened to Allie?”

I wasn’t expecting to be called on so I still had some shock and then Tim said, “He absolutely would.” I was very pleased by this and I went up privately to Tim afterward and told him I wanted to thank him for the compliment.

“What compliment?”

“What you said about how I’d take care of Allie.”

“Nick. You absolutely adore Allie and everyone here can see it.”

My wife assures me I got several compliments on my intellect and apologetics ability there. Why does she assure me? Not because I’m doubting it, but because I don’t remember any of them. I remember that compliment. That one reigns supreme.

You see, the greatest compliment I can get now is to be told I’m a good husband to my wife. Anyone can really study hard and be smart and be a great apologist or thinker if they really want to be. To be a great spouse though is a lesson in virtue.

In fact, my wife has opened me up to a great spiritual side. In many ways, I’m jealous of her spiritual life. Allie does have profound spiritual experiences and gets far more excited about the love of God than I do. When God feels distant to her, it’s hard on her. She really is the deer panting for the water. I wonder then why it is that I am not like that. Perhaps it is just the way that I am wired, but I know often in a more devotional side, she does far better than I do. She is the one who remembers to pray for people and reminds me to.

This is another way we complement each other. I say I am the head and she is the heart. If you want sympathy and someone to care about what you’re going through, Allie is the person to talk to. If you want advice and to know how to deal with it, come to me.

It might sound superficial, but Allie has taught me about beauty as well. When we men are growing up and single, the human female is a mystery to us, especially if we wisely avoid pornography. What is it about that body that makes it so beautiful? Why do we find that so beautiful? I do not know why to this day, but I know that it is true. When I get to see my wife, I am reminded of what it means for something to be beautiful. If something does get me into praise, it is thinking about how beautiful my wife is. I just cannot conceive that God made something that looks that good.

It leaves me thankful. I have a woman I can kiss every day of the year. I can hold her close in an embrace. We can even have full intimacy if we want to. We sleep next to each other every night. It’s not just me in this world. It’s we. I am never truly alone. I have a companion in everything, and I think just the companion I need.

Princess. I love you deeply. Nothing I say could ever be sufficient to share your worth and value to me. If I kept going with this blog, it would be the longest ever and considering I have had blogs with over 10,000 words, that would be something. The past seven years have been amazing. I just can’t fathom what it was like beforehand and I know everyone else who knew me before has seen the change. It is a great honor when I have friends now getting married and they say they want to treat their wives like I treat you.

Love you, Princess. You are my gift.

In Christ,
Nick Peters