Is God Petty?

Is it wrong for God to expect us to worship Him? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, I found myself in a discussion about the question of how can people be happy in Heaven knowing that they have loved ones in Hell. As the discussion went on, I focused on one point which got us to a different area. I pointed out that if Jesus rose from the dead, then Christianity is true and there is an answer to the question. If not, then it’s just trivia. I could even be willing to say “I don’t know” but it would be foolish to say “I’m abandoning Christianity because while I’m convinced Jesus rose from the dead, I don’t have an answer on this question.”

Instead, we wound up discussing if God is petty or not. After all, God expects us to love Him and worship Him. Wouldn’t a loving God just give everyone a break? Life has enough suffering as it is. Isn’t it petty to have the whole turn or burn mindset?

Keep in mind, my view of Heaven and Hell is quite different. Still, it is a question we all have to deal with. Even those who profess conditional immortality would have to answer how it is they can be happy if they know they have loved ones who they will never ever see again.

Yet now, I want to focus on the whole charge of God being petty, because it is something we come up against. On the surface, it does look that way. God wants us to worship and adore Him. If we don’t, we are cast aside from Him. Loved ones are separated in that sense. How does this make sense?

Part of our problem is we have a view of God where we just make God a big person. He is just like us, except He has the omni-attributes. If you’re going to study this, you need to realize that God is very different. Whatever the view of God is we have in our mind, it’s in some way inadequate.

Second, we need to ask people where they are getting their theology from. If you make claims about God, how do you know this? If you think God is fair and loving and things of that sort, how is this known? Any claim about knowledge of God needs to be backed. If one wants to turn the question to me, it’s my position that if Jesus rose from the dead, He’s someone worth listening to and I do believe the Gospels are reliable.

So let’s look at the question. For one thing, at the start, Christians were always exclusive. This was even the case when they gained nothing from it. They were on the outs with the Roman Empire and with the Jewish people as well because they said Jesus was the true Lord of the universe.

We often think love cannot be exclusive. This is false. Not only is love exclusive, it has to be exclusive. If you love anything, you will exclude that which is contrary to it. This is one reason I don’t like “hate” being described always as a negative. Hate is not always bad. There are plenty of things we ought to hate. We ought to hate the great evils that we see in the world.

When it comes to the question of God, there are benefits for loving God. There is nothing wrong with this. If a man and a woman love each other, then in a marriage bond, there are benefits they share that others don’t have. There is nothing mercenary about that.

Likewise, if you do not have that commitment, then you do not get the privileges of the commitment. Other people, including other men, can love my wife in some sense, but they are not to love her in the exclusive sense that I do and only I get the benefits of that kind of love. If they had made a covenant instead, they would be having those privileges instead of me.

There are also costs in the case of God. If one rejects the revelation of Jesus knowingly, then one is in essence not only saying Jesus is a liar, but saying that God has not revealed Himself in Jesus. That’s a big claim and one had better be right on. On the other hand, if someone like myself is wrong, then I am guilty of the worst kind of blasphemy against God. I have to be willing to accept that.

If one does not accept God’s way, then one is going their own way. It is a rejection of God. If they don’t want to be with God, then God will honor their request. He will not force Himself on them.

Many of us also assume that we are innocent. It’s not that way at all. No one of us lives a perfect life. We all know that. We all know ways we can do better. God could have just been just and said none of us will be with Him for eternity. He did not.

We also have to ask that if God is going to be loving and forgive all, then what about evil here? Will there never be justice? Do those who lived their lives consistently going against God get all the benefits of those who did the exact opposite?

Once again, all of this depends on if Jesus rose from the dead. If He didn’t, then we could be discussing trivia. We might just have to see if another religion is true or if God revealed Himself some other way or just hope for the best. It is a tough situation then.

But if Jesus did rise from the dead, then we do indeed have great hope. We are forgiven and we will be in the presence of God. Not only that, all the suffering we undergo will be redeemed one day. God does not waste our sufferings in this life. Death itself will be overcome.

That is good news.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/14/2018: Hugh And Kathy Ross

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Marriage can be hard enough as it is sometimes. Just take a man and a woman and put them together and inevitably, some sparks will fly. Some will spark fires of passion, but some will spark fires of anger. Every relationship has difficulties, but some relationships could be more interesting than others.

Last week, one of the topics we covered was a marriage where both of the people involved have Aspergers, namely my wife and I. This week, we are going to cover a marriage where one person has it and the other doesn’t. To do this, we are bringing back one of our favorite guests and his wife.

My guest is the president of his own ministry. He is a highly successful astronomer who works on the intersection between Christianity and science. One of the great aids to what he is doing today is his wife who has never been on the show before but this time is joining us. He is Dr. Hugh Ross and his wife Kathy is joining us.

So who are they?

Astronomer and best-selling author Hugh Ross travels the globe speaking on the compatibility of advancing scientific discoveries with the timeless truths of Christianity. His organization, Reasons to Believe, is dedicated to demonstrating, via a variety of resources and events, that science and biblical faith are allies, not enemies.  

Working alongside Hugh is his wife, Kathy. She holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Southern California, worked in communications there, and later taught at Pasadena City College. In addition to editing Hugh’s books, Kathy serves as a vice president at RTB, overseeing multiple ministry departments.

What’s it like for a neurotypical person being married on the spectrum? Are there trials and challenges that neurotypical marriages do not have? How do couples work to overcome these challenges if they do exist?

How did the marriage even come about? Did Kathy and Hugh know about Hugh’s diagnosis before they got married? If not, what did it mean for them when the diagnosis came about? Do they view the condition as a good thing for Hugh or a bad thing?

The Rosses also have kids. Was that an issue? Were there concerns about the functionality of the children if they were born on the spectrum? How does parenting work on the spectrum? Does Dr. Ross have any advantages in the area or does he have any particular disadvantages?

Dr. Ross has often been one of my favorite guests to have on due to also being on the spectrum and someone I get along with very well. I’m thrilled to have him come on and talk about marriage, which is also one of my favorite topics, and to have him come on with his wife Kathy to discuss this important topic and give insights that could help other marriages that are mixed in this sense. I hope you’ll be watching for this episode and please go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: God On Sex

What do I think of Danny Akin’s book published by B&H books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Turn on the TV. What will you often see? Sex. Listen to the radio. What’s on the news? Sex. Look on Facebook or go to the water cooler. What’s being talked about? Sex. Go to church? What’s being talked about?

Anything but sex.

Which is a shame. We don’t impact the world if we don’t talk about what is being talked about. One great reason we should do so is because the Bible itself talks about sex and talks about it a lot. The Bible begins with the marriage of Adam and Eve and ends with the marriage of Christ and the church. Sex shows up many places in the middle. Most notably, it shows up in the Song of Songs. This is a poem in the Bible all about sex and marriage, one so blatant that many of the fathers felt a need to allegorize the book.

This is also Danny Akin’s favorite book. I find that quite pleasing to hear. We can often think about those in ministry as being caught in spiritual matters all day long so they don’t have time for such interests. This is a nonsense view. Sex is a spiritual interest because it is celebrated regularly in the Bible. It is the image of the love between Christ and the church. If you do not understand sex, you will not fully understand the love of God.

Akin’s book is a commentary on the book. He goes through and sees what the text has to say about sex and marriage. Throughout, he spices it up (No pun intended) with information from various sources on how marriage is done right and the importance of sex in marriage.

Sometimes, some of these can be a bit of a stretch. It can remind me of having the right message with the wrong text. I suppose it is understandable as many things need to be said in our day and age that weren’t specifically in mind when Solomon wrote his song.

Sometimes, I did want some texts looked at a bit more. There were a few portions that could be sped through. I also can’t say I entirely agree with how the chronology of the story is always played. I think Walter Kaiser in his book on the Song has the best chronology I’ve seen.

That being said, the positive material in here is indeed positive. It can be quite amusing and funny to talk about. What is in here can help a couple who is trying to rekindle the fire or help a young couple that is preparing for marriage. In our day and age, young men and women need to hear a whole lot more about what’s coming besides “Just wait until you’re married” and until then that sex is dirty.

You will also hear about problems of cohabitation and divorce and other such things. Marriage is something we need to have defended in our world today. One of the steps in defending it is living it well and good sex between husband and wife is highly important for that.

I encourage the reading of Akin’s book. It is very readable and easy to read. The language is good and simple for husbands and wives to read together or for fiances to read together.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

When It’s Not Good That God Is Good

What do you do when the goodness of God seems bad? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife has been through a hard time this week with relationship issues, medication problems, and on top of this we found out that a friend in Charlotte, died within the past week or so. As a husband, this is also a stressor on me. I would much rather be the one directly going through the suffering than her.

At times like this, it’s hard to be a Christian apologist. I’m supposed to be the man with the answers. The sad thing is there are truths that we cannot know, such as why a good God allows suffering to come into our lives at times.

I often debate with atheists. Many times, I am told that I believe in God so I can feel good about myself and have a source of comfort in hard times. While it is true there can be comfort, sometimes, it is not comfortable. Sometimes, one can think atheism itself would be comfortable. At least then you could say bad things happen because, well, bad things happen.

If Christian theism is true, and it is, then there is a good reason why bad things are happening. Not only that, there is a good God who is allowing these bad things to happen to you and they will somehow work toward your good. Sometimes those bad things also include the silence of heaven when it seems like God doesn’t care. Surely God will directly intervene, and yet many times He does not.

You see, the great fear is not then that God does not exist. Rather, as C.S. Lewis said, it is that God exists and that this is what He is really like. Dr. Douglas Groothuis in his book Walking Through Twilight talks about something he calls Misotheism. This is where you believe all the right things about God, but you have a hatred for Him at the time.

If you have never wrestled with misotheism, I wonder how seriously you are taking suffering in the world and your faith.

Many times we all want to act spiritual when that comes. When we go out in public, we have to show the world that we have it all together! This is what good Christians do, isn’t it? Not only that, the church doesn’t seem to often welcome sufferers. We have worship songs that more are meant to make us feel good and many times we can think that if we are feeling good, then all is right with the world and we’re being good Christians.

Good Christians can feel miserable. Go through Paul’s epistles. See how many times he is in a state of sorrow. Oh, he has an underlying joy to be sure, but many times there is much pain going on in his life.

The pain here also is that for me, intellectually, I know the goodness of God. It’s the emotional turbulence that’s the problem. It’s again the opposite of what atheists accuse me of. I have the emotional goodness supposedly and that overrules the intellectual problems. Not at all. Times of doubt for me come not when I encounter intellectual difficulties, those are usually able to be adequately answered and even if not there’s still a plethora of powerful evidence untouched, but rather from emotional difficulties.

That means at those times, I have to look and realize that a good God is allowing this season of suffering to take place. I must realize then there is something wrong with my concept of goodness or of love or of both. I seem to think at times that God being good and loving means that He will intervene in those times of dire need and do something directly. Maybe He won’t.

You see, when we think about God being good and loving, we often think that means He will do something right now. We want things to work out for our good, but we are not thinking of years down the road or even in eternity as not all will work out this side of eternity. We want God to intervene right now! We are short-sighted creatures. We do not see the long-term.

God does. Sometimes our short-term good would be long-term pain and we don’t know that. Picture the story of the boy who tries to help the butterfly break free from its casing. In doing so, he actually kills the butterfly because breaking free is what gives it the strength it needs to be a butterfly.

Many times, we will look back on times of suffering in our lives and think “I would never have chosen that, but God did use it for good.” When I was in high school, I went through a time of depression that was intense. That drove me to Bible College actually where I found out about Christian apologetics. I used to end the story there, but now it is not over there. It is Christian apologetics that led me to my wife Allie.

Her story meanwhile had her trying to kill herself over a bad relationship. She never would have wanted that, but lo and behold in a time of recovery, this other guy gets in contact with her and reaches out to her to be a friend. In the end, he became more than a friend. He became a husband.

I have to trust that God will work something good out of the suffering that is going on. It has not taken Him by surprise. He knows what is happening. I have to be willing to surrender short-term well-being and happiness for long-term good. I do not think we should read Jeremiah 29:11 and individualize it, but God has plans for each of us to shape us into the likeness of Christ and His desires for us are actually much greater than our own. Our dreams to Him are too small.

In each life a little rain must fall. Let’s be there and help one another out and please don’t give this nonsense that a Christian should always be happy. We shouldn’t be. We should mourn at times. We should know this world is not perfect. We should make it better, but we’re not God. We’re not going to do it all. We can’t change the whole world, but we can change the world of someone else, and that is our neighbor. Reach out to them. Listen to them. Be a friend. Help them out. Perhaps if more of us did that, we would find our world changed for the better.

For now, I choose to walk through the valley trying to find my way and only step by step. My wife and I are in a hard time, but I am sure that give it some time and we will be in a much better place and look back later and say “Can you believe we were that worried at that time?” God’s blessings sometimes come through sorrows that are meant to shape us to be like Jesus.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 3/17/2018: Rhonda Stoppe

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It takes two to tango in marriage and sometimes, women who marry Prince Charming find out he’s not really all that charming after awhile and is just a royal pain. It’s easy to look and think that all the problem lies with him. Also, it could be that the problem isn’t with him, but you know, you have to change something with yourself in order to be loved.

This isn’t to say that the husband is necessarily a saint. Sometimes, complaints can be true, but what can women do to improve their marriages? What are women doing to undermine their marriages? Are there some lies that a woman is believing about her husband that are undermining her marriage?

Rhonda Stoppe says there are. She’s my guest to talk about her book If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy And Other Myths Wives Believe. Rhonda writes to women to help them see past the lies that they are believing and how defeating these lies can help them live free in their marriages and in Christ. The book also has a note from her husband who is a pastor at the end of each chapter.

So who is she?

According to her bio:

Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. Rhonda is an evangelist who meets women at the point of their desperation and shows them the way to Christ. I could have listened to Rhonda talk all night is what audiences say at her No Regrets Woman Conference where she helps women break free from the regrets that hold them back––beginning with a genuine relationship with Christ.

For more about Rhonda’s women’s evangelistic conferences watch this promo video

As a pastors’ wife, author, favorite radio guest and speaker with more than 30 years experience Rhonda’s delightfully authentic teaching, grounded in sound doctrine, helps women discover significance and become more influential than they ever dreamed possible. To learn more about Rhonda’s messages and to book her for your next women’s event visit her at:NoRegretsWoman.com

Rhonda’s books (Harvest House Publishers):

-Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

If My Husband Would Change I’d Be Happy & Myths Wives Believe

Real Life Romance

The Marriage Mentor (to release 2018)

Rhonda and I will be talking about marriage and what women need to know about marriage. This is not to say those of us who are men have it all together, but we need to see material geared towards wives and towards husbands as well. Rhonda comes at this as one who has made some of the mistakes and who has a passion for marriages as well as a passion for evangelism.

I hope you’ll be looking forward to the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. I am always striving to bring forward the best material that I can and marriage material is always important to me. Please also continue going on iTunes if you can and leaving behind a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast. I love to see them!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Why do I think today is a special day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I used to hate Valentine’s Day. Back then, I was one who called it Singles’ Awareness Day. It was a depressing time because I always wondered if I would ever find someone who would love me and who I would love. Really, the prospects of that happening did not seem good.

That really changed in August of 2009. I found out about this girl named Allie who lived in Atlanta. She had Aspergers like I do and she was going through a hard time and wanted a friend. I said I could be that friend and started communicating with her. Before long, it was more than communication and we were a hot item. Everyone knew exactly where we were heading and this only after a couple of months. I proposed to her in December and we were married in July, but I did get to spend Valentine’s Day with her.

Since then, every Valentine’s Day has been special. I always make sure to celebrate the day by doing something really special for her. You see, when you go through life and you doubt that you will ever find that love, you want to celebrate it when it comes along. You never want to take it for granted.

Something theological about this is that love is now something we do celebrate. When you read Plato, the whole dialogue of the Symposium is all about a celebration of love because that really wasn’t as much celebrated as it is today. Romantic love was often the exception and not the norm. Many times, a wife would often be just the woman that the man chose to have his main heirs with.

Today, romantic love is the norm. We can’t picture any other cause for marriage than love. At the same time, we often don’t think about what love is. What does it mean to love someone?

Many times, we think that love means we have warm feelings for someone. That can be good when it comes, but that’s not what love is. Love is not about what you feel so much as what you do. The best definition of love I know is seeking the good of the other for the sake of the other.

This means love is in the giving. It’s in the giving of oneself for what is genuinely good for the other. It might not even be what the person wants. A loving thing to do to a recovering alcoholic seeking to overcome is to NOT give him the alcohol he desires. Love can be painful in that sense, but love is there because it is the person seeking the good. There’s always the possibility that one is wrong in the action they think loving, but they are still at least trying to be loving.

As a husband, I am called to give of myself to my wife regularly and sacrifice for her, but with love, it is not often a sacrifice. It is a joy. My greatest joy many times is in knowing I am making Allie happy and knowing she can rely on me and trust in me. If you hear me talking to other men about marriage, what you will often hear is that I wish I could do more.

Today, I will be celebrating the love I have for my Princess. If you are married, I encourage you to please celebrate it today, but remember also that Valentine’s Day is not meant to be a once a year event. Celebrate the love you have for your spouse every day. If you are single, you can still celebrate love you have in your life. You can have the love of friends, the love of family, and of course, the love of God. If you want to find romantic love, be assured it can be found. I never thought it would happen for me and now we’re working on year eight of our marriage.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you also Princess. I love you dearly.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Path of Intimacy

What do I think of Scott Means’s book published by HMM Resources, LLC? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is a short book. You could conceivably read it in an evening. When the lights went out at a recent Super Bowl party, since I don’t care about the game except for the commercials, I spent a lot of time on my Kindle going through this book. Like I said, it is short, but short does not mean that it does not contain valid information. This is actually a very helpful book.

Looking at my notes, I find I have several notes which means there were several points I wanted to mention. There is no way I could mention all of them. The basis of the book is that every couple really wants intimacy. Now we have to be careful about that term. If we use it wrongly, a lot of people can misunderstand it. Guys, for instance, don’t often think as much in terms of emotions. They still want intimacy and it’s more than sex. They want to be wanted and desired by their wives and know that their wives see them as the man. Wives often want a place that is safe and secure and to be loved for who they are.

Means teaches us that we are all on the path to intimacy or separation every day by the actions that we do. Naturally, no one is going to bat 1,000 every day. Still, we should be on the watch for how we treat one another. Are we accepting or rejecting one another? Is it possible that many marriages consist of just excellent roommates?

The reality is the drift takes place naturally if we don’t do enough to sustain the relationship. If your husband seems to get angrier a whole lot easier and be more impatient for it, there’s a reason for it and you might need to look back at what you’re doing. If your wife is withdrawing from you and not wanting sexual intimacy as much, there’s a reason for it and you might need to look at yourself.

All of us should be doing that anyway, but these things don’t just happen out of nowhere. They come for a reason and sometimes, it’s the little things that we have been doing. A woman can reject her husband in ways that she might not even recognize. A husband can do the same with his wife. These are often called bids where the other person wants to know how they rank to the other and many times, the answer is “Not much.” Not that that’s intentionally said, but that is what happens.

Means tells us that intimacy is to be fully and completely loved. You are also to do this without each of you losing who you really are. The man is still to be fully a man. The woman is fully a woman. It is their differences that make them a good combination.

Intimacy when done right is what keeps us from being excellent roommates. Intimacy in marriage makes it unique from every other relationship you have. Marriage is not meant to be a so-so relationship where you just go through motions. It’s meant to be one of joy where the two of you are happy with each other and delight in each other.

Means tells us that we will have intimacy to the degree we’re willing to be transparent and vulnerable. Can we really share who we are? Sex is the ultimate physical expression of this as two people being naked and intimate don’t have much more that they can share with one another physically. It would be a mistake to limit it to that. You can have all the passion you want in the bedroom, but still not have total intimacy. Intimacy includes every aspect of your life. It is physical, emotional, sexual, and yes, spiritual.

Shame is often the barrier to this. When we have shame, we hide part of ourselves from the other. Shame is a blocker to your spouse’s love and thus the enemy of intimacy. By all means, you are not perfect, but a loving spouse can love you and accept you even in your imperfection. Grace is the solution to this. Grace is a key to intimacy.

Which means guys, as Means says, grace is the love that you have to show if you really want that wife of yours to ‘get naked’ with you. It will be hard for her to bare her body to you if she doesn’t think she can trust you with what’s in her soul. A lot of guys want that passionate sexual relationship, but they don’t want to put forward the work to have it.

That also means spouses need to give each other the benefit of the doubt. What they do, they do out of love. A man hates to be nagged, but maybe sometimes he should try to see it as his wife wanting to love him so he can be the best he can be. A wife will often complain that sex is all her husband thinks about, but maybe she should see that that is how he best experiences love.

For the women with that, Means also wants you to know that sex is for you. Many a woman has been told that she should just act like she enjoys it and that it’s really something for the men. Women who think like that are cheating themselves and denying themselves a joy that is rightfully theirs. They are denying themselves the joy of their husband’s full love which is something that will also build him up and dare I say it, but the more a woman participates in sex with her husband, the more she will desire it.

Too many spouses make the move of withholding love in some way until their spouse changes. Now there are some rare exceptions I think this is justified. If your husband is watching pornography, then I can understand saying no to sex until he starts working on that problem. Most of us aren’t talking about those. We’re talking about withholding as a form of vengeance. Men can do this too. Not necessarily with sex, but often through other things their wives love. (Like I’m going to help you out around the house!) Both persons should seek to outgive the other. If the other person isn’t doing what they should be doing, that’s on them and for them to work out with God. You are not their Holy Spirit.

Doing this will also mean knowing how your spouse wishes to be loved. My wife’s love language is gifts. She often thus wants to buy me something as an expression of her love. It’s nice, but it doesn’t mean the same to me as when I buy her a gift. Meanwhile, my love languages are words of affirmation and physical touch. If my wife wants to make me feel loved, a little touch can often be all that it takes to change my mood. Don’t love how you want to be loved. Love how they want it.

Also, don’t keep score. It makes it seem like you two are working on a contract instead of a covenant. I will do X when you’ve done Y. You should do this for me. You owe it after all that I’ve done for you!

Instead, we should just be striving to be the best spouse we can be. We can’t change our spouse. We can influence them and we will, but we should always be working on ourselves. How can we be better for that person we’ve promised our lives too? Is there any other person we should work on the relationship with more?

If any competition should take place aside from friendly competition if both of them like to play games, it’s the competition to outdo one another. If your husband wins, you win. If your wife wins, you win. Take joy in what brings them joy, provided it is something that is truly good for them. A wife should not take joy in her husband’s porn.

Try to view things also as privileges. You get the chance to serve one another. You get the chance to love one another. Love is not meant to be a duty. It is meant to be a privilege.

Keep in mind that I have highlighted just some of the points in this wonderful little book. I really recommend married couples get it and go through it together if possible. This is a short read again, but it will be a read that you benefit from.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Book Plunge: If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy.

What do I think of Rhonda Stoppe’s book published by Harvest House Publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I make it a point to read books on marriage regularly and though this one was meant for the wives, I found it on a Kindle sale and decided to pick it up. I want to understand matters from a woman’s perspective after all. Rhonda Stoppe is writing from the perspective of a pastor’s wife to women who are believing very foolish things about marriage.

I know very well that we men are just as guilty, but this book is for the women. Each chapter also ends with a note from her husband Steve. There are also references to their website so you can see a video of her and Steve talking about the issue under question.

She emphasizes at the start that the way to love your husband best, and anyone else for that matter, is to love God first. If you are in a marriage and you and your spouse are both loving God first, loving each other will come much more easily. It’s a sort of win-win. You have a good walk with God and you have a better marriage as a result.

She also rightly says that if you make it about your feelings, then you’re going to suffer for it. Feelings are something that change and are unstable. We all know this. Strangely enough, so many of us still like to base reality on our feelings. Your marriage is not about a promise to have good feelings towards one another. It’s about a promise to love one another and do good to one another.

She’s also correct that men tend to thrive on respect more than they do on love. A man does not want his wife to be another mother. He wants someone who relies on him, believes in him, and who celebrates his accomplishments. In essence, he wants someone who will look at him and say “You are my man.” (Yes women! We would love to hear that and even more to have it shown to us!)

She also notes that your husband isn’t perfect, and this mainly in a chapter about how women believe their marriage would be better if they were prettier. Your husband cannot do for you what only God can. I’d also like to say at this point that we already find you beautiful anyway. That’s one reason we married you. As much as you might think you’re not beautiful, we think about that body of yours that you don’t think is beautiful much more than you realize and we think it’s much more beautiful than you realize.

This is followed by the chapter on sex, a chapter I was certainly very eager to get to as a man. In this, she says

“So why are wives so resistant to minister to their husband’s need for sex? The most common reason is selfishness, plain and simple. Because of our sin nature, the basic problem all people have is a preoccupation with self. In short, every sin results from this preoccupation. (Yes, I just implied that not having sex with your husband is a sin that stems from selfishness.)”

At this, most every Christian man in the world wants Rhonda Stoppe to come and give a talk at his church. One of my favorite Family Feud clips is of Steve Harvey asking the question that was asked to 100 married men. I would blank for sex. Every guy who answers, except for the final one who listened to the women, nailed it. The women always missed. As Steve says in it, “You don’t know how deep this runs with us!”

This often shows a disconnect that Rhonda understands. Sex to a man is far more than getting his game on for a physical release. It is the way we feel desired and adored and wanted by our wives. It is the way that we know we are the man. Duty sex itself won’t do this. The more passion you give a man, the more you will empower that man. This is an honest need in a man’s life.

The problem I think is that too many women do think that a man is just wanting a physical joy with his wife instead of realizing that this is often how he connects emotionally as well. Dare I say it, but it’s a prideful attitude just like Rhonda says. Too often women expect their men to be more like them and thus more “refined” as it were and that their husband is a lowly and filthy creature for wanting sex. Not at all.

Rhonda also says that to remember your kids won’t always need you. Your husband will always need you in his life. Don’t replace the husband with the kids. Too many marriages have the marriage centered around the children. This should never be.

She is also right in saying that a husband wants a joyful wife. Be someone that your husband enjoys being around. Be a source of joy. That doesn’t mean never ever be sad and come to him in pain if you really are that way, but it does mean try to have joy around him.

For housework, most men don’t care about a house being spotless. They would much rather that the house just be livable. To go back to what was said above, many men would be far more happy if women who are so eager to make sure the house is perfect would spend more time working on the areas that they’re concerned about the most.

Rhonda will deal with many myths in the book. Most every wife would likely hold to a couple of them at least. There are many myths that men believe as well, but this is for the women. I appreciate Rhonda’s book here and it is one I can easily recommend to wives.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Something Worth Guarding

What do you do with what matters most? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today, my wife Allie and I have been married for seven and a half years, which is incredible to think about. It really seems like something incredible to realize that when I go so many places, I have my wife going with me. That is a treasure. When I get together with other couples, we are just that, a couple. When I get together with my own family, we are together and it seems odd to think I sleep next to my wife in the room I used to have to myself alone.

One question asked to me today was about relationships with other women. This is something I keep guard on. Why? Picture you have a safe-deposit box at the bank. What are you going to put in it? Will you put in the groceries you bought at the store today? Will you put in a bottle of medicine you bought over-the-counter at the drugstore? Will you put in a can of cat food you bought at the pet store?

Or will you more likely put in fine jewelry, important documents you have, money, family heirlooms, etc. Why? These are things of far greater value. They need to be guarded and protected. What matters most is what you protect the most.

In earthly relationships, my marriage matters the most to me. That is why I guard it. In my ministry capacity, I often have to answer questions from women that get in touch with me. For a simple question, that is fine, but if it becomes anything involving intimate issues, then I always ask if my wife can be in the correspondence. If this is not agreed to, I tell them I must pass them off to a female who can answer their questions.

Most affairs do not start out with a guy getting out of bed one day and saying “You know what? I think today would be a good day to cheat on my wife.” They start with a guy in an innocent relationship with a woman, perhaps at the office, and she starts giving him some attention that he likes. He starts talking to her and before too long, he’s joining her on her lunch break or vice-versa. The relationship is emotional but as that emotion starts to build up, the people in it want to turn it physical and lo and behold, they wind up at a hotel together.

This is also why I follow the Pence rule. A lot of people mocked Pence when that came out. (I do realize it is not original to Pence, but it is called that often.) If Harvey Weinstein had followed this rule, how different would things have turned out? My relationship with my wife is not worth risking.

Also, this means that pornography has absolutely no place whatsoever in my marriage. I never look at the stuff. If it accidentally pops up on my computer, I feel awful. I go and tell Allie about it immediately. I don’t want her to ever be on my computer and see a link come up that makes her wonder what I’ve been doing.

Sexual fidelity is a major deal for me. Allie is the only woman I have ever had sex with and I intend to keep it that way. Why would I want another woman in my head when I’m with my wife? Do I dare want to say that Allie is not good enough for me? Absolutely not! I regularly tell her she’s the most beautiful sight I have ever seen! Just the chance to see her and be with her has been a great motivation in my life for necessary change that I need.

Being on the spectrum, we also have therapy together and that is a great benefit to our relationship. We have no problem going to other people when we are in a tough situation and getting their input. That’s just seeking wisdom and we realize many people have been married far longer than we have been and know a lot more.

I also do the steps to maintain our relationship everyday. If you are on Facebook and are friends with me, you know that I don’t post on Sunday, but every other day, I post something about how I love my wife. People also know that I can be mild-mannered. I can sometimes be rough in a debate with a skeptic, but there are limits.

Yet if anyone dares to insult my Allie on there, then people know the rule. Stay back and get out popcorn. Rage is the only word to describe it. You could say my philosophy then is “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” I take no prisoners and I let anyone have it who dares to go after her. Efforts to calm me down in that state are pointless. You might as well try to calm down the Hulk when he goes into a rage.

It also means you plan in advance for birthdays and anniversaries and Valentine’s Day. Our anniversary is on July 24th. That means that planning for the next year begins on July 25th. As it stands, I am right now considering multiple options for what I will do on that day. Normally also, book sales that I have saved up under my ministry partner are used to support what I want to do that day.

This requires intentional work. This requires sacrifice. It also requires many times going against my feelings. There are times my wife wants me to do something and I don’t really feel like doing it. Imagine she needs something and I have just sat down and want to read my book and hear, “Nick. Will you go to the store and get some milk?” My wife can’t drive due to a brain injury, so I have to do it. I can assure you I don’t want to do it most of the time. I don’t feel like doing it. I would love it if someone else could do it. I still do it. Why? Because I love her and if there is something my wife needs and my feelings don’t care for it, my feelings have to take a back seat.

If you build your relationship on your feelings, you’re dooming it to failure. No feeling can last forever. It shouldn’t even. Many of us could not focus at all if even positive feelings always lasted forever. Sometimes, negative feelings will show up, and you have to go against them. There are always little foxes seeking to destroy the relationship.

Christianity plays an integral part in what we do as well. When it comes to nighttime, before we go to sleep, we read a little bit from the Bible and then we pray together. Prayer is something we turn to in crisis. We’re also available when we need it to do ministry. We make an interesting team. I tell people I’m the head and she’s the heart. If you want someone to really listen to you and emphasize with you and feel your pain with you, go talk to her. She’s better. If you want someone who can reach your head and answer your questions, come to me.

Today, one of the greatest reasons I am the man I am today is because of my wife. She has transformed me in ways that even my own parents who have known me longest in my life think of as remarkable. My old roommate before I married Allie knows I used to pretty much have frozen pizza en masse in the freezer for my dinner every evening. When I told him that is no longer the case because Allie has changed my diet, he just said “Wow.”

If you have a marriage, work to build it. Should your spouse work to build it too? Yeah, but if they’re not, that doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility. Of course, this is different if you are in a relationship where you are actively being abused or the children are being abused. In that case, get out while you can. At least go with separation for the time being and demand that the offending spouse get some therapy and don’t go back into the relationship until a therapist okays it. (Of course, you also don’t be going and having affairs with other people in a time of separation.)

If you think your marriage is valuable, you will cultivate it. If you don’t, you won’t. The reality is that if something is important to you, you spend time on it and learn about it and do what you can with it. My wife is a gift and I treasure the relationship with her and it’s always new to me. Some things never get old. Loving my wife is one of them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

For Young Newlyweds

What advice would I pass on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently while surfing Facebook I found someone asking how old people were when they got married. After that, he decided to ask what advice would be given to young newlyweds. I had to chime in and say something. Back within the past couple of years, I had a friend who I called and we always asked if he was dating someone. He told me he was and it seemed pretty serious. Then a few months later I get a call and he asks me how it was that I knew that I wanted to marry Allie. Yep. Knew where this was going. A few months after that he calls me late in the evening. I waited for him to say what I knew it was, but I was tempted to answer and say “Congratulations on your engagement!”

When Irma struck Florida, we had someone come and stay with us who was evacuating the area. He was also an Aspie like my wife and I. While he wanted to learn some about apologetics, I made sure to model for him what I think a man should do as a husband. That even meant that when I went to a dentist who would do my root canal work for a cheaper price, which meant a drive about an hour or an hour and a half away, he came with me. No need to risk the appearance of impropriety. It made an impression on him.

One of the greatest compliments I get is to be complimented on the kind of husband I am to Allie. Anyone can read books and study and learn things, and you should. To learn character and virtue though requires more than that. You can be a wicked and evil person and still be very smart.

So as I saw this post last night, I thought of some things. I don’t remember exactly all I said, but here are some things.

First off, barring abuse by your spouse or infidelity, divorce is not an option. When you marry, you marry for life. Don’t go in thinking it’s just like any other relationship. It isn’t.

Your first priority is to God. After that, your spouse is the next person in line. If you do have kids, don’t put your kids before your spouse. Let them know that your marriage relationship is the most important relationship of all.

Get rid of selfishness. It has no place in a marriage. If you look out for #1, you will often do so at the expense of your spouse. It is not about how much you get in a marriage, but it is about how much you give.

Never stop pursuing and chasing each other. It can often be thought that you put your best foot forward when you date, and then when you marry, you can kick back and take it easy. You shouldn’t. Be the person you were when you were dating.

On that, keep in mind romance looks different for men and women. For a woman, it can be any number of things. My wife likes gifts the most. Many a wife wants some quality time or likes it when her husband helps take care of things around the house. It doesn’t have to be big and grand gestures. It can be simple little things.

For men, it’s much easier. Men can like that, but for most men, it’s sex. Deprive a husband here and he won’t be able to function as well nearly anywhere else in the world. Keep him happy here, and he will be thoroughly happy and have his mood improve everywhere else he is.

By the way, along those lines women, keep in mind your husband does not just want duty sex. It sends him a very dangerous message when he knows you’re having sex just because you think you have to and you have no real interest in him. Men would rather have a Plain Jane who was absolutely crazy about them in the bedroom, than to have a supermodel who was entirely passive and acted along the lines of “Well are you done yet?”

Always try to assume the best of your spouse. Don’t let distrust be the default position. Instead, let trust be the default position. Your spouse is a fallen sinful human being and will mess up at times, but always be willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

While women have this problem, this one is largely male. Avoid pornography at all costs. It will not enhance your marriage and if you’re single and planning to marry, get rid of porn. There are some men today who are in their 20’s and need to take Viagra because the sight of a real woman doesn’t arouse them any more. Let your mind be filled with the thought of that one woman and let her know she has no competition.

Be Christian together. Pray together and read the Bible together and go to church together. You each must also cultivate your own spiritual devotion, but make sure to build one another up.

Avoid sex before marriage. Don’t live together before marriage either. Keep things for the wedding night as much as you possibly can.

Along those lines, something I advise is when you go on your honeymoon, bring no books save your Bible. Do not go on Facebook or check email. Ask both families to not get in touch with you. Don’t go on social media sharing wedding pictures or seeing what people said. Those responses will be there when you get back. They can wait. Checking all of that is like bringing other people with you on your honeymoon. Spend that time focused on one another.

Have fun as well. Try to find hobbies you enjoy together or TV shows you want to watch together. Each of you will likely have some of your own interests, but make sure there are things you’re interested in together.

Forgiveness is always huge. Be willing to forgive quickly. I tell people that marriage is one of the best ways to learn it. You will spend a lot of time giving or receiving forgiveness and I would say I’ve spent a lot more time receiving.

Marriage is hard work, but it is certainly worth it. It’s been an incredible adventure for me. My life is all the better for having Allie as my wife in it.

By the way, always let them  know it. You can never tell your spouse “I love you,” too much. You cannot hold them too much. Love is always mandatory.

In Christ,
Nick Peters