Valentine’s Day Thoughts for 2017

What are we to do with Valentine’s Day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today is Valentine’s Day, which many also do call Singles’ Awareness Day. I do understand it. I used to dread the day, but now I’m married so that changes. As I thought about the day today, I thought about how much has changed since the coming of Christ with regard to romantic love.

One of the mistakes we often make when we read the Bible is we assume the people of the time were for the most part, just like us. They weren’t. Through studies today, we’re learning that the majority world is really radically different and we’re the odd ones out. They function more in terms of honor and shame and we in terms of guilt and innocence.

One way of change also is romantic love. Now let’s be clear. When we look at the ancients, there were indeed times that you would see a man with deep love and affection for his spouse. This was more often the exception. Many a man was seen as more of a man by how many women (Or young boys even) he could bed. The women meanwhile were to be chaste. As we see our culture abandoning Christianity, it’s not a shock that we move back to that idea even more.

Marriages were more often arranged. There wasn’t any going out and dating and finding the right man for you. You were also expected to be married at a much earlier age. Many of our fourteen-year-old girls today could be in a panic trying to decide what to wear to school the next day. Their ancestors would be busy being mothers to children. I really think one of the great disasters of our age is we’ve lost a rite of passage idea into manhood and womanhood and too many of our young people think the way you show yourself a man or a woman is by having sex instead of having the mindset of a man or a woman.

When we go to the letter to the Ephesians, we can get into a lot of arguments about a woman submitting to her husband. What we often forget is the shock that would come to the men when they heard the command to love their wives and give themselves for them. They would have thought that Paul was on the crack of his day.

Through Christ, we learned immensely about sacrificial love and men learned to be chaste and be only with their wives sexually. This became a reigning paradigm for some time, but sadly we’ve seen ourselves moving away from it. Just yesterday in fact, I read a statistic about how 30% of women doing online dating sleep with the guy on the first date. You have to wonder at that point if anything is sacred.

Valentine’s Day is a day for us as Christians to show the world a different and a better way. I always encourage Christians who are married to live out their marriage. If we look at the world as dishonoring marriage, my fear is that the world does it because the church did it first. If we want the battle for true marriage, we need to not only defend marriage as it is, but we need to live it as it is.

I don’t know what your plan is for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, but if you are a husband, love her as Christ loved the church. If you are a wife, love him as the church loves Christ. Seek to give of yourselves. There is no place in marriage for looking out for yourself. In fact, we are told to look out for the interests of others above ourselves. If you can’t do that in marriage, where can you do it?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Thoughts for Valentine’s Day

What makes this holiday so special? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Admittedly, I wasn’t always a fan of Valentine’s Day. This was especially so back when I would have joined in with others and said “Singles Awareness Day.” As one can imagine, that has changed. At the same time, I understand the longings of those who are single and are not happy being single and want to be married. There are times in the church we look down on people who are single as if there was something wrong with them. (Was there something wrong with Paul and Jesus?) Some people just don’t want to marry. God bless them. Some do, and for those who do, we should not look down on them but help them be the best future husband or wife they can be and perhaps help introduce them to someone who would be a great spouse for them. After all, my wife and I were introduced to one another by a mutual friend.

And I want to stress to singles wanting to marry that a real relationship is what you want. A friend of mine recently sent me a link to an event called cuddlecon, which will involve numerous people getting together and cuddling. As I pointed out to him, nothing beats the reality. There is something very special about snuggling up with your loved one perhaps to watch a movie at home or just lying in bed at night. It is possible to cuddle together without sex for instance and still have it be completely intimate. (Although the man sure won’t complain if it leads to sex.)

In fact, just this morning, when I woke up I got my Bible after a prayer and had started reading when I felt Allie’s arm go around me some. I was surprised by this and said the first thing that came to my mind honestly. “Have a bad dream?” “No, Just wanted to.” It’s been hours later and I still remember that event so ladies, keep in mind your husband doesn’t always need the full deal for support and encouragement. Just a little bit can keep him going. (And in fact, it could be to your advantage to tease him a little bit, though remember if you tease, you must eventually deliver.)

Love like this has been one of the most life-changing events for me and I am sure many people have noticed changes that I have not. My work in ministry I think has improved as I have someone who affirms me constantly. I can safely say that the more I am affirmed, the better I am able to do what I do. I had no idea when I got married that the things that mean so much to me now would in fact mean that much to me.

On the other hand, there’s also the notion of sacrifice. I find myself giving and giving and giving and if I give so much that I bring a bit of joy into Allie’s life and see her truly happy, then I celebrate with that. It’s also found in doing things that are just good manners. It means opening the car door for her. It means pulling out the chair for her and not sitting down until she sits down. It means (GASP!) helping out with housework at times.

Why do it? Why do you give everything to your spouse? The reality is they give everything to you. Through covenant, they have committed their lives to you. Through physicality in the sexual union, they give their whole bodies to you. They make a vow to not see any other person in a romantic light and not be loving in that way with anyone else. They are to run from even the thought of that.

And that running can be hard at times. This I think is especially so for guys who are visually oriented. Of course, women see bodies on men they can desire, but men are more notorious for this. We are more like microwaves. Turn us on and we are ready to go and it doesn’t take much to turn us on. That is a great desire in us and it must be controlled and directed to the only one in our lives who truly deserves it, our wife.

Women give also. Women make themselves entirely vulnerable to men, who are usually more powerful than they are, at least physically. If you’re also the husband of a wife who you’ve had a child with, consider what she has gone through for you. Oh of course women can long to be mothers and want that, but that does not mean they enjoy the process. There is a period of up to nine months of vomiting, strange food cravings, pain, emotional mood swings, etc. Then of course, there’s the actual childbirth itself. I have told Allie before that I am sure if we ever get to that point, it will be incredibly difficult for me. I mean there will be all the crying, moaning, groaning, screaming, yelling, and on top of that, I’m sure she’ll be making a lot of noises too.

Women are the ones who often leave their own families and come to form a new relationship. In the case of Allie and I, many of you know that Allie was practically fresh our of high school when I found her and I had been already living on my own and living with a roommate both for some time and then Allie and I fell for each other. Her parents had no objections whatsoever to the relationship and when I asked them for her hand in marriage (Men. If possible, always do this) they happily consented. Yet I had to take her away from her family. She had to get used to a new identity and a new way of living that was totally foreign to her.

One way she got used to a new identity was when we got her a new cell phone after we married. She was leaving a recording for her voice mail message and said “Hi. You’ve reached Allie Licona.” I caught her on it instantly and then she realized what she said. Her name is Peters now after all. It’s not that the Licona family doesn’t matter. Of course it does. It’s that she is part of a new family unit.

A new family unit. Isn’t that something magical about the whole thing? You see, true love is creative, and one thing it creates is new family units. Even if a family for whatever reason does not have children, there is still a new family unit involved. These are two people that share no blood relation to each other, but have a relation that could be tighter than any blood relation.

That love transforms and yes, love is transforming. It makes you into something else and something for the better. The Apostle was right. Love builds up. That’s what is to happen when marriage is done best. Both parties are to work to sacrifice for the other. It’s fine to know what makes you happy, but don’t seek your happiness first. Seek the happiness of your spouse first. Odd thing. If both of you are doing that, and both of you knows what makes the other happy, well guess what. You’ll both be happy.

And remember, like all other loves on this Earth, marital love in all the ways its expressed is meant to be a shadow of what is to come. Don’t make your spouse an idol. Only God deserves the highest place. For you men, especially those of you who are planning a very romantic Valentine’s Evening, remember that what you experience even in the bedroom together is meant to be just a tiny clue of what is coming. You can picture God saying “If you think this is so awesome, wait until you’re in my presence.”

So this year, yes, I do celebrate Valentine’s Day. I hope you will be as well and even if you are not married, celebrate where you are in life and give thanks. God can use you where you are just as much as He can use married people were they are.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

How I Met My Princess

What is the story of the love the Princess and I share? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

For today’s entry, I’d really like to go personal and share the story of how my Princess and I came together, seeing as it is Valentine’s Day as I write this. The story starts in the year 2009. I believe it was August.

That day, I had got off of work at the Christian Research Institute and was heading back to the apartment where I lived with my roommate. Gary Habermas I had heard was teaching a week long module at SES where I was a student. Gary and I had talked a number of times since he’d spoken at the church there. I had always had a problem of being my own worst critic which I considered a symptom of emotional doubt. I wanted to know if he could help me with that. My friends who knew me before Allie can tell you that, yes, this was a HUGE problem for me.

So I stop by to see him and get there early. We meet in the lobby and he asks me if I know about Mike Licona’s daughter. I say no, but I’m intrigued already. He tells me about a hard time she’s going through and how he was talking to some fellow apologists about it and the topic came up of her having Asperger’s to which someone at the table said “Nick Peters has Asperger’s.”

Gary gave me her email and suggested I talk to her. At the start, neither one of us was looking for romance. She especially was not. In fact, she was hoping she could win back another guy at the time. Knowing what she was going through, I had decided to get her in touch with some older female friends of mine and Allie and I just kept chatting.

Except she started really developing a liking to me. Today, she’d say it was because I was like Christ to her. I was showing her great love and not getting upset with her about matters. It was something really unusual to her and she was thinking more and more about me.

I was starting to do the same.

And on Labor Day, we started going out.

It was a month later when I finally got the chance to drive down for the first meeting. We also had the first kiss, which was my first one as well. Our first date was to go to the Georgia Aquarium together. We even had a homeless person on the street ask us how long we’d been married on our first date!

There are pictures of me there touching some of the fish in the water which led one of our friends to say “That’s how I knew you two were going to work out. If she got you to touch something, it was good.” On the way back, we listened to music in the car together and I found she even liked my Final Fantasy music. It was just incredible.

That evening, we watched together at her parents’ house “Beauty and the Beast”. It was my first time to see that as well. Normally, Allie’s parents would have been nervous about her dating a much older guy, as I’m nearly ten years her senior, but her parents already knew about me. Mike had seen me at SES a number of times and liked me.

There is a funny story about Allie and I watching the movie together downstairs. Seeing as we were trusted, her parents gave us a wide range of freedom. That first night when we were watching the movie, her brother wanted to go downstairs by us to the kitchen to get something and her Mom said “Nick and Allie are downstairs on the couch right now and they’re cuddling. You might not want to go down there.” (By the way, for all concerned, Allie can assure anyone I was a gentleman the whole time. Cuddling was not anything inappropriate.)

We never saw her brother the whole night.

I honestly don’t remember much more of what happened that weekend, but I know she was depressed when I had to get back and get to work, and I was sad about it too. I’m sure I called her almost as soon as I got out of the driveway. I don’t remember if that’s when we first told each other we love each other or not.

I have been told that when I got back, my roommate told a mutual friend of ours that he might have to start looking for another place to live.

At the end of the month, Allie and I got together again. When we weren’t together, we were bombarding each other with IMs and emails. In fact, we would often have LOOOOOONG phone conversations at the end of the day, staying up past midnight. Could I tell you what we talked about in these conversations? Nope. Not a bit. Neither can she.

When we got together again, we were visiting my parents this time so Allie got to meet them and she got to meet my grandmother, who passed away about a year later. I have been told that when the time came for us to leave, that my mother wanted her good-bye hug. I told her I had to get Allie in the car first. She later called one of her friends just so sad about it to which she was told “Nick’s found someone special and you’re going to have to accept you’re no longer the #1 woman in his life.” Of course she did, but I understand it was hard.

Just so everyone knows, my parents are great parents. Both of them have done all that they can to help us out and we try to get together regularly. For instance, on Saturday nights, they like it if we come up and watch Huckabee with them. Some Saturday nights, I forget. Often times, my mother will help us with cooking and some household things, seeing as we’re not the best in that area. I say this because I want everyone to know that I greatly value my parents.

The next time we met was at the Apologetics Conference in November. Allie was there before I as she had to work that day. She tells me how she liked how then president of SES Alex McFarland had introduced her (Seeing as she was with her Dad) as “Nick Peters’s girlfriend.” She thought it was such a joy to for once not be introduced as Mike Licona’s daughter. My friends there were surprised that I only bought two books that year. Hey. I had more important money investments to make.

I remember waking up so excited the Saturday of the conference that I’d be with Allie again soon and after the conference, I was talking to the mother of some twins who were friends of mine and realized then, I would not find another girl like Allie who was so devoted to me and understood me so well and who I enjoyed being with. My decision was clear.

I also recall being at work and coming through a hall and hearing someone there talking about me. Apparently, someone had asked who I was with and I heard the person answering saying things like “Match made in Heaven.” “Wonderful couple.” “Great how God brings people together.” “Probably going to get married.”

He knew how true that was when I asked if he knew a good jeweler in the area.

In fact, my rooommate at the time messaged me at work one day saying he’d found someone who needed a roommate and he was going to take the chance and said “Besides, if I’m reading the tea leaves right, you won’t want me around much longer.” I told him if he was reading them right, he wouldn’t want to be around much longer.

I think he got a good inkling of where it was going when we went to the mall one day so he could get some jeans and I was checking out jewelry stores.

To which, I saw Allie around Thankgiving that year and her mother knew what I was planning. She gave me a stone to use in the engagement ring. It was a pink sapphire that was a family heirloom. I was quite secretive about this and especially with Allie. In fact, Allie and I went to the mall and went to some jewelry stores. While there, she wanted to try on rings “just because” and told me about the stone saying her Mom said I could use it, totally unaware I already had it. When we got back and her Mom asked how things went, Allie told her about the stores to which I said “Yeah. Allie said something about some sort of….pink sapphire…that I could use. Can I look at it later?”

Allie has definitely learned that I am incredibly sneaky.

The next month was December. I called her parents then as I was as traditional as I could be. I got them both on speaker and they hid themselves from Allie as much as possible. I told them I knew Allie and I hadn’t been dating for long, but I adored their daughter and I wanted to ask her to marry me and I wanted to get their blessing.

Guys. If at all possible, do this before you propose please.

As you can imagine, they happily gave it.

On Christmas Eve, Allie was flying in to the Charlotte airport. I got off work at Noon. I had the plan all worked out. I had been practicing what I would say and everything. Her flight was to arrive at 1:04. I got at the airport at Noon. Her flight actually got there early and I saw her at 12:49. I helped her get her bags and said I wanted to show her something before we left.

Outside of the airport, there’s a statue of Queen Charlotte who the city is named after. It’s a fountain statue with a star-shaped pool around it, and I took my Princess (As I call her) out there. While showing it to her, I was fumbling around in my pocket. I had the ring in the box and I wanted to make sure I didn’t open it the wrong way.

Okay. It’s right.

So I released the line I’d been preparing for.

“So Princess. Have you ever thought about being a queen?”

And she answered “Only if you’re the king.”

So I said “I guess you’ve made this easy for me.”

And her mouth opened in stunned silence as I got on my knee and opened up the box and said “Allie Licona. Will you marry me?”

And she said yes. We were both stunned.

Especially since my cell phone went off during my proposal.

Of course, I had ignored it, but now that she had the ring on, we decided to see who it was. I thought it was my Mom. She ALWAYS calls at the worst times.

Half right. I had the wrong Mom.

Allie’s Mom had wanted me to know Allie’s plane had arrived earlier. It is something we have said we would always be teasing her about.

I suppose with this blog, we can definitely say “Mission Accomplished.”

We drove to Knoxville with her calling everyone. I called my roommate and got a busy signal. I called someone else and then checked back to see my roommmate had left a voicemail. He wanted to congratulate me saying that Allie’s Mom had already put it up on Facebook.

Yeah. There was some excitement.

When we got to our first stop for Christmas Eve celebrations, I told Allie I was going to do things strategically. We walked in with I on the left and her on the right. There had been bad weather and we had to take a longer route so everyone was together when we got there.

Perfect.

Anyway, we walked in that way because I was covering her hand with the ring. This was the first time several of them had seen her and so I said “I want all of you to meet Allie. She and I have been going out for a few months now and as of X hours ago, she’s become somewhat more important.” As I said that last part, I would remove my hand to show the ring.

I then say I dove out of the way to avoid the onslaught of women wanting to see that ring.

I honestly don’t remember too much in the months after that. Everything was in a rush getting set for the wedding. It was also difficult when I lost my job in that, but friends did come through and provide for us to get things like a bed and a honeymoon. (We went to Ocean Isle Beach.)

I remember speaking with my roommate in his new place one time and telling him I wanted him to pick us up at the hotel the day of the wedding as her parents had arranged for us to have a hotel stay on our wedding night. I remember him kind of shrugging about it. Then I said “I figure you can either pick me up there that morning or else just pick up a couple of honeymooners the next day and take us to our car.”

I remember his eyes opening big and opting for the first option instead.

Our wedding really was a dream wedding. Things went off so well. The theme to Superman was playing as we walked down the aisle together. A lot of people thought since I’m the Smallville buff, that I was the one who thought of that. Wrongo! It was Allie! She wanted to surprise me. We had “Wait for Me” by Rebecca St. James, “Love Story” by Taylor Swift, and a song that is still “our song.” That one is “Eyes on Me” which is actually from Final Fantasy VIII. My sister sang that and Allie’s Mom played the piano. (My sister got some good teasing in January of 2011 when she put up moments of the past year that made her smile and my wedding was not shown at all!)

My roommate also had the best wedding toast ever. I am posting it here in its entirety.

As we were moving Allie’s things into Nick’s apartment, my foot struck an object embedded near the creek. It turned out that they were a set of golden plates, curiously arranged. On them appeared writing; but it was of an unintelligible nature. I quickly realized that this was Nick’s writing; which, as most here know, required the gift and power of God to translate. I have done so—and here is what I found.

AND IT CAME TO PASS that Nicholas did meet Allie in the last year of the reign of George.

And it came to pass that while Nick did reside in the region of Mecklenberg, Allie didst reside in the far-off city of Atlanta, named after the Roman goddess of traffic jams;

And it came to pass that they didst fall in love with one another, and this love was confessed; nay, confessed and shown morning, noon, and night;

And it came to pass that their courtship did blossom like unto kudzu; nowhere to be seen one day, and is everywhere the next;

And it came to pass that Nick didst begin to contemplate a future of more than just phone calls and AOL Messenger chat; lo, he didst envision the prospect of Marriage, and a Family.

And it came to pass that he set about achieving this goal.

And it came to pass that he did quest within the Queen City for a band of metal wrought like unto the work of the smiths of old; from the City East to the City West to the Park of South didst he look. And lo, he found one.

And it came to pass at the Eve of the Feast of the Nativity that he didst finally pop the question;

And it came to pass that she said yes.

And it came to pass that many quests and trials didst they pass to get to the altar. Verily, the gifts and talents of much family and many friends didst they obtain, and grateful were all at the giving.

And it came to pass that they did get hitched in the second year of the reign of Obama, to the delight of all; lo, though those in charge come and go, Nick and Allie’s love shall not, lo, nor will they let their affection do the same.

And it came to pass that they did endeavor to be an Example, and for the radiance of their love and virtue to remain unsullied even should the years pile up like books; and they did also desire to be a reflection of the splendor of the Trinity to all they did meet.

And it came to pass—or at least, it better come to pass—that all their many friends and family did support them, and did offer counsel, aid, kindness, and wisdom.

Thus ended the text on the plates.

Kidding aside, I do not think that either of you could have found anyone more well-suited. Therefore it is my distinct honor to propose this toast:

First, to your holiness: because all else rightly flows from this. May it remain undimmed through many, many blessed years.

To your marriage, that it fully reflects that greater Marriage between Christ and his Bride. May this marriage be an image of the joy of His return!

To your virtue: that faith, hope, and love grow stronger and deeper from this day forward; that your temperance, prudence, justice, and fortitude become an example that none can see without admiration.

To your health: or rather, to your attitude towards it. Good health you will not always have, nor is it guaranteed; yet may you have the perspective to face both blessing and trial with grace.

To your home: may it be Godly, and happy, in that order; and may all who enter it be washed and renewed its resonant blessedness.

And in all, may God receive the praise and glory. It is my desire that your marriage should seem fitting of praise; yet it is also my desire that you do not keep it for yourself.

Nick and Allie, thank you for letting me be a part of your wedding.

Thank you.

We left the wedding in a limo her parents had arranged. That was on July 24th, 2010. There have been bumps and hurdles since then. There have been good times and bad. We still have the financial struggles as before. We still have issues we’re working on. Still, to this day, my Princess is still my valentine and she is still the love of my life.

To my Princess, Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope reading this will make you smile as much as writing it made me smile.

In Christ,
Nick Peters