Deeper Waters Podcast 4/7/2018: The Fairest Of Them All

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

As the host of the Deeper Waters Podcast, I constantly get asked the question about who is my favorite guest I’ve had on. I’ve never been able to answer that question. I’ve had on so many great guests that I don’t think I could have easily pinpointed one and said, “Yes. This is my favorite guest.”

At least, that was the case, until now.

As you should know, this month is Autism Awareness Month. It’s a month that is near and dear to my heart. I always try to have guests on that know about Autism and have them speak on the subject. This Saturday I kick it off by having the best guest I can think of on to talk about Autism.

This is someone who knows about Autism from personal experience of having to live with it. Not only do they have to live with it, they have to live with someone who lives with it as they are married to someone with Aspergers. By the way, this guest that I am having on is someone who is incredibly awesome and is a real knockout to boot.

This Saturday, my wife has agreed to join me on the Deeper Waters Podcast. You all have heard me talk about Allie before many times. Now this time you’re going to get to hear from her yourselves.

My experience with Aspergers has been very different from Allie’s. We’re going to look into that. What was it like growing up? What was it that made her realize that she was different from everyone else? How is it that she came to be diagnosed with Aspergers? What did that mean for her? Was it good news or bad news?

As many of you know, Allie got a very different sort of traits than I did from Aspergers. She is actually incredibly high on the empathy scale. Her main language is also not logic but art. Believe it or not, while she does agree that apologetics is important and needed, she does not really enjoy talking about it. (Please remember that all my Facebook friends who think she shares a deep love for the field. She doesn’t.)

She doesn’t want to focus on this, but we will have to talk about married life some. What’s it like not only being on the spectrum yourself, but being married to someone on the spectrum? Are there any hurdles that you face that you think other couples don’t face?

What about church? Is there anything you wish churches knew about how to communicate with people with Aspergers? What are some steps that could be taken if there is room for improvement?

I am really looking forward to this interview. (Although Allie is a bit apprehensive about it) I can now say my favorite guest would be getting to have my wife on my show. Please be looking for this episode and please also go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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