By: Dr. Jerry Bergman
One day this month was one of the most important days of my life. It was on a frigid snowy day of December 28th 38 years ago when I married my wife, Dianne.
Since then, I was blessed with a wonderful relationship. Not a day goes by where I don’t appreciate how fortunate I am to be married to her.
As the Scriptures state, “He who finds a good, capable wife finds a priceless jewel and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).
And “a capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman … is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on, and believes in, her securely” (Proverbs 31:10-11).
As Proverbs 31:16 explains: “She gives careful thought to a field and then buys it. She then plants a thriving grape-vine garden from the money she has earned.” According to the scriptures, my talented business woman wife Dianne is perfect.
All marriages involve compromise, mine included. We came from different worlds. I was born in Detroit and grew up in a Detroit suburb. Dianne was born in northwest Ohio and spent almost her entire life in Montpelier. We also had more than our fair share of challenges.
When God created Eve from Adam’s side, He stated that Eve was created to be a compliment of Adam, not a twin or a clone, but a new creation, different in many ways than a man. Some things I learned in college have helped me negotiate these differences in married life.
When we married, I was still teaching at the University of Toledo. As a result, I was gone a lot, which put the responsibility on her for dealing with the four children in our new blended family.
This was a very difficult time for her, but she dealt with it. And I admire her greatly for sticking with it. When the kids went off to college, it allowed us some time for ourselves.
I have always traveled a lot, speaking at churches and testifying as an expert witness in courts around the country based on the books, articles and law review articles that I have written.
When I get upset at something, she settles me down, usually successfully. When she gets upset, I do likewise. A good rule is never let disagreements carry into the evening.
Attempt to agree on a compromise and move forward. One rule I was careful to follow which often helps couples with the inevitable conflicts in marriage, is this.
Never, ever put your spouse down, especially in front of others. Demeaning your spouse demeans you. If you call her stupid, what does that say about you? You married her.
I have had to swallow my pride more than once and admit Dianne is more often right then wrong. One issue we have to deal with is I am color blind.
One result is Dianne is sometimes embarrassed at times to let me out of the house wearing some weird color combinations.
When I travel on speaking tours, she selects my clothing combinations so as to not to embarrass me or her. Marriage survival requires each spouse to realize, and accommodate, for their differences.
When I am sure my decision is the best one, and Dianne disagrees, I have to think: My male friends may agree with me, but my wife is not a man. She is a woman and sees the world through a woman’s eyes.
We now enjoy spending time, often on the phone or texting, with our four grown children and their four spouses.
Most are college educated and have done very well in their careers and with their family. We also have ten grandchildren, eight girls and two boys.
Unfortunately, as is often true today, none of our children live in the Montpelier area, but all over the country. My son and daughter-in-law have lived in Europe for over a decade.
And my daughter and her husband lived in Houma, Louisiana for close to 20 years. In our modern world, career is often first and, as a result, family often suffers, but we attempt to deal with this fact as best we can.
Especially now, in our retirement, we enjoy spending time with each other shopping and taking care of tasks around the house.
Dr. Bergman is a multi-award-winning teacher and author. He has taught in the science and psychology area for over 40 years at the University of Toledo Medical College, Bowling Green State University, and other colleges. His 9 degrees include a Doctorate from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He has over 1,800 publications in both scholarly and popular science journals that have been translated into 13 languages. His publications are in over 2,400 college libraries in 65 countries. Bergman has spoken over 2,000 times at colleges and churches in America, Canada, Europe, the South Sea Islands, and Africa.