The launch I had into the relationship with Jeanne, my wife of 48 years was not without deceit. Fresh out of Newark City Hospital School of Nursing, she joined the staff at the college I attended. I was in my fourth year and serving as an assistant dean of men which put us together on some hospital visits. When I first laid eyes on her as college opened that Fall, I was entering the student lounge and I saw at the far end this beautiful woman all dressed in her nurse’s whites. My first thought was, ‘I have got to get me one of those.’ I had just been given a book on poetry by a board member (I had no interest in poetry but politely accepted it) and sat down to continue watching her. As she moved through the lounge in my direction, I flipped open the book so as not to look so obvious about my new interest. As she passed she looked down and noticed the poetry book (she loved poetry), she stopped and commented on my poetic focus which I assured her was a fascination of mine. Not the best start!
But our relationship grew into a family of three children. They are all married and have blessed us with four grandchildren. Our lives have been filled with blessings but also with the struggles and family situations that force a dependency on God, knowing the reality that life will always have some level of struggle.
My Path to Counseling
I followed a rather strange path which eventually led me to spend over thirty years in counseling. Most of my undergraduate and graduate education has been in the area of bible, theology and education. As I left Dallas Theological Seminary, I was hired by the First Federated Church in Des Moines, Iowa as their minister of education with no desire to get into a counseling ministry; the church actually had a counselor on staff. But to my dismay people started coming to me for help with family issues. I am a compassionate person, so I started listening to their struggles. After they left I would go on a search to try to find solutions to their problems. In my research I looked not for theories and models but practical ways a person could gain insight and change. After reading hundreds of books, thousands of articles, eventually taking dozens of courses in this quest. It is my privilege to be helpful to people and families who are stuck. I see things in a biblical framework. The scriptures are full of wisdom that makes life work. The emotional make-up of people, with histories that have built deep life patterns must be understood so they can become capable of acting on truth. Besides counseling I enjoy teaching courses on marriage and family.