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The Power of a Supportive Partner

What does it take to walk the wellness path? Spouses Pastor Arthur Bergren (lead pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School in Waverly, Iowa) and Jennifer Prinz (a regional representative for Portico Benefit Services) discovered that healthy change is most effective when you have a cheerleader by your side.

Pastor Arthur Bergren and Jennifer Prinz
Waverly, Iowa
June 2018

Arthur: Earlier this year Portico introduced a new benefit, Omada, that helps people who are at risk of developing diabetes. The announcement came right before Lent. Of course, that’s my busy time of year, like it is for most pastors. My wife Jennifer said that she was going to start the program. She didn’t push it on me. But I started thinking to myself that I probably need to lose weight, and I definitely want to support her, so maybe I should sign up too.

To be honest, I wasn’t crabby with her about joining the Omada program. But I was crabby with the thought of starting something in Lent. How was I going to have time to add tracking food, counting steps, and doing online check-ins when I already had so much on my plate?

But I love my wife. And we agreed to do it together. So we sat down and had a conversation about our diet and exercise habits, or lack thereof. We rededicated ourselves to cutting out sugar and wheat. Our commitment was to hold each other accountable. Omada became the tool by which we could do that.

Jennifer: As a Portico Regional Representative, I spend a lot of time on the road visiting congregations and synods and talking with our church’s leaders. I knew I had wandered away from some of the smart things I’d done in the past. That what was so frustrating: I know what to do. I just needed a nudge to do it. Omada made that easy by offering online coaching and a support group to check in with.

For me, the difference really started when Arthur joined the program. It was so much easier to stay on track when I wasn’t doing it alone. Arthur even got me a portable fridge for my car so I could take healthy food we prepared at home with me when I was traveling. Having his encouragement keeps me motivated.

Arthur: I see the changes we’ve made in our diet and exercise habits as an investment in our future. Hopefully losing the weight, becoming more active, and developing these good habits will give Jennifer and me a chance to grow old together, to age well, and to do the things in retirement that we dream of. This is going to add quality to my years — and help me make the most of today.

Yes, I was grumpy at first. All of us have too many commitments, and having to make one more can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. But now I’m all in. I can feel the benefits for my own health. I can see the blessing in my marriage. And I know I’m being a better steward of what God has given me: my health, my call, and my wife.

This submission describes a personal perspective and may or may not reflect the experience of others.

email Share your Wellness Voice at livewell@porticobenefits.org

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