Beginning Year Nine

Where do we go from here? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Thanks to everyone who gave us anniversary wishes yesterday. My wife and I had a great day together. So now that we’ve been together for eight years, what do we do at this point?

We go to year nine.

Year nine begins right now. I have told several guys that as soon as you finish one year of marriage, you need to start working on the next one. Of all your earthly relationships, the marriage that you have is the most important one and no other one must come before that.

This is especially a danger for those of us in ministry. Some of us can be so caught up in doing the work of building up “God’s kingdom” in the world that we don’t do it in our own home. Wives and children can feel neglected. There are jokes about how when some men walk across a stage to get their Ph.D.s, their wives are waiting at the other end with divorce papers. There are plenty of kids of those in ministry who wind up rebelling. Many of them could do so because ministry took their families away from them.

If you are in ministry then, always make time for your family. I realize as one in this field that there are plenty of other people that can do the work that I do. There is only one person though who can be a husband to Allie. That is my job. I don’t want to slouch so much in that area that she winds up looking for a replacement.

All of this has to be taken seriously. I hate to say it, but when I meet people and tell them how long I’ve been married, and before yesterday it was seven years, they say that that’s a long time. Seven years to me is not a long time, at least for marriage. I think about couples that have been married for decades. They can say they’ve been married for a long time.

So already, I’m planning ideas in mind for what I can do for Allie next year. Her birthday is next month and I already have something in mind for that. All of this is done to show that I have an investment in her. By showing I have an investment in her, it lets her know how much she matters to me.

That’s the way it is with anything. You will invest in what matters most to you. If your family doesn’t matter or your marriage doesn’t matter that much to you, then you won’t invest in them. I have been warning not to get too involved in ministry, but don’t neglect that either. It is the kingdom of God. It does matter, but you’re not the only one serving that Kingdom. Never act like the Kingdom depends on you because it doesn’t and God can have a great way of showing that.

Again, my thanks for the anniversary wishes! Here’s to the ninth year of marriage!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Eight Years!

How do we celebrate? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out!

This is a blog post that is much more personal. It’s about how my Princess and I celebrate eight years of marriage today. Nine years ago, neither of us knew the other existed. I might have had some small clue since in the book her Dad wrote with Gary Habermas, he mentions a kid of his named Alex, but that can also be a boy’s name so I had no idea of her beyond that.

And yet when Allie came into my life, before long she became central in my life. Aside from Jesus Christ, Allie has been the most transforming person in my life. If you want to talk about the person who has had the most impact on my ministry thus far, it’s Allie. Allie has given me the confidence to reach beyond where I was and seek to become what I need to be.

With our age difference, it’s interesting to compare our lives to our marriage. Allie will turn 28 next month and I will turn 38 in the month after. That means over a quarter of her life has been spent in marriage to me and over a fifth of my life has been spent in marriage to her.

I am also amazed that I found a woman who accepts me as I am and loves me and yes, even wants me. Allie does not have pity on me and did not choose me for that. She wanted to be with me because she saw someone who loves her.

In turn, I did not have pity either. Many times when Allie asks why I love her, I tell her it’s because she loved me and I had never seen anything like that. I often think of the text of the Bible that says we love because He first loved us. Because Allie loved me, I found myself being more and more transformed into who I need to be.

Love like that does have a more transforming power. If anyone wants to talk to me about empathy and care and things of that sort, Allie has the most to do with that. I am often wondering what Allie would think of the things that I say or do. She is my constant reminder to live a holy life, because I want to be a man worthy of her.

Both of us went through a lot of rejection from the opposite sex in our life, but in the end I am thankful for it. If those guys had not rejected her, I would not be the one with her. If I had not been rejected by other girls, I would be with someone else besides her. We are a unique couple that I think is perfectly fit for one another. We balance each other out so well with our differences and work so well together with our similarities.

So today I want to say again happy anniversary to my Princess! I love you so much Allie Licona Peters! Thank you for being in my life! I look forward to all the years to come!

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

 

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

 

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

Four Years!

What’s so special about July 24th? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

For many people, July 24th is just another day on the calendar. Nothing against it, but it’s just a day. Most people will get up today and go to work and live out their days like it’s nothing really special. Look at the calendar and today is no holiday. That is all true, but for some people, today is a very special day.

Like at our household.

Travel back in time four years from today and go to First Baptist Church in Matthews, NC. It’s a pleasant Saturday afternoon and people from all over have come. Some have come from Tennessee where my family lives. Some have come from Georgia where Allie’s family lives. Others have come from the neighboring town of Charlotte where I live at the time, not so much of a drive for them. Still others have come from Florida, Virginia, D.C., and even one flying all the way from California.

So what got so many people to come to this place at this time?

It was a wedding.

It was our wedding.

It was a quite beautiful occasion. As far as I’m concerned, everything went off perfectly and we still often watch the DVD of our wedding together. It was great to spend time with family and friends. Since many of our friends came from TheologyWeb, I understand there was even a little mini convention that evening. (Somehow, for some reason, Allie and I missed the get together. It’s just a mystery why that was…)

Today we celebrate four years together and I think this past year has been one of the most important ones. Due to our finding an excellent church that really encourages Christian growth and Allie forming such good friends there, she had her depression miraculously removed from her. She has had so much joy in all of this and even her psychiatrist is convinced that her depression is gone. She no longer takes any medication for it.

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to worship God in Christ through the Holy Spirit to have marriage run so well, the way it was meant to run. Of course, we still have our struggles and difficulties, but we are learning more and more each day.

Marriage is a great way to come out of yourself and we see that happening. I think Allie would say I’ve become more sensitive and caring over the past four years and I’ve seen Allie come more and more in touch with her intellectual side the past four years. Marriage helps each of us push further and further wanting to strive to be the best that we can for one another.

The adventure has been an exciting one and I’m sure that there are big things ahead for us in the future. We do not know where the road is taking us of course, but we want to go wherever it is that God has for us and we look forward to seeing what He plans for us to do as a team together.

Love to you greatly my Princess! Happy Anniversary!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Number Three

Do wonders ever cease? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Today, I’m moving away from the usual debate I’ve had on the blog recently to mark a milestone down. I certainly hope there will be no debate on today’s entry. When I say for the title “Number Three” is that, as readers of this blog hopefully remember, today my wife Allie and celebrate three years together.

I’ve often said I was one of those guys who thought I’d never ever get married, not because I didn’t desire to, but because what kind of girl loves a nerdy guy like this? Apparently, Allie is the kind who does. It was on this day three years ago that she said that yes, she wants to invest the rest of her life into me. I said the same to her naturally.

It’s been an interesting three years. Our finances have been terrible. We’ve had numerous events happen such as job losses, having to move, deaths, and surgeries. With both of us being Aspies, we undergo a number of difficulties a lot of couples do not, but at the same time it has been an adventure.

I’ve always seen apologetics as an adventure. It is protecting the world from false teachings that seek to destroy the flock and lead people astray. It is a battle where souls are on the line and with Allie by my side, I can wake up each day more inspired and know that when my work is done for the day, I’ve got someone by my side who expects me to give it my all and is cheering on her husband, who she thinks is absolutely the best!

These years have been shaping for me. Before we got married, my then pastor met me at the church and ten minutes prior to walking down the aisle, we were praying, and he asked me what I was praying for. I told him that what I prayed for most was that I wanted to be holy. I understand that the next day, a Sunday, that was even talked about in the sermon. (We would have been there, but Allie and I were on our way to the beach for our honeymoon. I think it was an absence the church understood.)

Today, that is still my prayer. I can look at things I do or say and think “Dang it, I really made a mistake there.” If anything can help make you more aware of the sinful nature in your life, it’s marriage. I had lived with a roommate prior to marriage, and that certainly brings some things out of you, but somehow marriage does it totally different.

In marriage, you share your entire being with someone. I love Allie heart, body, and soul. I seek to give her all that I have and I ask that she does the same for me. Marriage becomes a way of saying “I want nothing to hold me back in my love for you.” Many people today in debates talk about how they want freedom so much. A married couple does not want freedom. They want to be bound to one another.

It takes awhile to get used to the changes. Some are more immediate, such as learning to share a bed with someone. Some of them take time, such as, well, time. After awhile, you start to realize your time is not yours. I can find that I can plan out how I want the day to go some, only to find out later Allie wants to do something and before too long, those plans aren’t going as I thought. I do the same to her sometimes. That’s part of sharing your life. Nothing is really “yours” any more. It becomes more “ours.”

In all of this, a person is shaped more in sanctification and holiness. Now in saying this, I am not saying everyone should get married. Not everyone wants to. I’m biased, but I think marriage is awesome. I like thinking that I’m the guy that gets to be sharing my life with someone special. I like looking and realizing that we have in fact formed our own family unit together. I like thinking as well that while we’re going through a hard time now, there is work to be done in the future and we’re going to do it together. There are some events ahead on the horizon and I hope that matters will pick up.

So today, as I celebrate three years, I am aware I am a far better man for it. I often tell Allie that aside from the gift of Jesus Christ, nothing empowers me like she does. Nothing shapes and encourages me like she does. It is a role no parent, family member, teacher, or friend could fill. It is something special only the love of a spouse could do, and Allie has indeed done it, even though I suspect she is highly unaware of how strong the change is she has wrought, despite my constantly telling her.

Happy Anniversary to my Princess! I love you dearly!

In Christ,
Nick Peters