Contributors: Marty and Arlene Bernthal / May 2016
For our final two articles about dating, we interviewed two married couples, one younger and one older, to see what they had to say about dating as well as marriage. The common factor – a life-saving faith in Christ as their foundation.
The interview issued this week is with Marty and Arlene Bernthal. This interview conducted and prepared by the Editors
Marty and Arlene Bernthal have been married for almost 66 years. She was 19 years old, and he was 23 when they tied the knot. They didn’t know what married life would be like when they first got into it, but they learned. We thought that for this last article in the dating series, they would be the perfect couple to talk to.
As they were talking about their lives when they were dating, engaged, and then finally married, it was easy to see how much life has changed in those years. Technology has developed, schooling has grown, and priorities have changed. Neither of them went to college, because it wasn’t something that young people were pushed to do at that time, but they both worked at various jobs. When they were first married, they made sure that they set aside money for church, groceries, and rent each week so that they wouldn’t fall behind on finances. They also didn’t plan out when they were going to have children, as many people do today. The Lord gave them a child when it was His plan to do so.
Having that mutual faith that Jesus had died on the cross and rose from the dead to atone for the sins of the world is what got them through the hard times of their marriage as well as made them rejoice for the happy times.
One thing that they discussed was how God would be involved in their marriage. “Jesus would be at the Head of our house, and He’s the One that would rule over our lives,” said Marty. They recognized the importance of going to church and trusting in God to care for them.
As a result of their long lives together, Marty and Arlene have learned a few things about dating and marriage. Here are some of the highlights:
Communication is key – Talk to your spouse about things going on in your life; don’t just talk about it to other people. Marriage is a give and take relationship.
Be sure the romance doesn’t leave – When children come into the picture, it is easy to become focused on their upbringing and their lives. Your relationship with your spouse is just as important to maintain.
Help one another – The husband and the wife should both be responsible for bringing up your children. Both of you decided to have children, so you both should take part in raising them.
Money is necessary to live, but it isn’t the most important thing – You need it to live and to sustain, but it’s different nowadays with younger people. “Young people now just think they need to have everything right away. You have to work for it. The Lord wants you to gradually go into it. You have to make sacrifices,” said Arlene.
But even throughout all of these changes in the way we live our lives in 2016 compared with 1950, there is one thing that always remains in the center of the marriage. And that is Jesus Christ. Having that mutual faith that Jesus had died on the cross and rose from the dead to atone for the sins of the world is what got them through the hard times of their marriage as well as made them rejoice for the happy times. And because of their confidence in what God has done for them, they have been good examples to their children and grandchildren of how to be faithful to God in their Christian lives as well as being faithful to one another.
Marty said, “If you have problems, then you just go to the Bible, and there are a lot of answers that will help you out. Let the Lord talk to you.”