The Pols Share Their Love Stories Ahead of Valentine’s Day

The Pols share their love story.

by Alex Reif |

Put a little love in your heart ahead of Valentine’s Day with The Pol’s! Fans know and love them from the long-running National Geographic series The Incredible Dr. Pol, their new family venture The Incredible Pol Farm, and their new podcast – Incredi-Pol Cast. Ahead of the love-centric holiday, I sat down with Dr. Jan Pol and his wife Diane, plus their son Charles and his wife Beth, to talk about the unexpected origins of their relationships and what they’re doing on February 14th.

“We met August 17th, 1961, in the Detroit airport,” Dr. Jan Pol reminisced about meeting Diane when he came to Michigan from the Netherlands. “The first impression [when] I saw her standing there, I said, ‘My gosh, she’s tall!’” It was not, however, love at first sight. “It was probably after he was over here as an exchange student for about three, four months,” Diane said about the first time she realized she was developing feelings for Jan. “He asked one of my friends out for a Christmas party, and I thought, huh. I don’t know, there was just something happening then. And then, through the rest of the year, while he was here, our relationship began to grow. But he went back to the Netherlands, and I went to college here, and so we just wrote letters once a month.”

“Two years later, my father developed bone cancer,” Dr. Pol continued. His parents had visited him in Michigan during his exchange program, and when he wrote to Diane about his dad’s diagnosis, she wanted to meet his parents one last time. “In ’64, she came over. We took care of my dad in our home until he died. She was doing the cooking, the cleaning, very quietly behind the scenes. And then, you know that you can depend on each other, so after that, we started writing once a week.”

Fast forward, Jan and Diane are married with kids. “We actually met in a bathtub when we were about two, maybe one and a half years old,” their son Charles shared about his first meeting with his wife Beth. Having known each other since before long-term memory formed, neither has a memory of their first meeting. They’ve always known each other. “Jan and Diane were like my aunt and uncle growing up,” Beth added. “We spent that much time with them, and they’ve always been a part of my life.”

Similar to Jan and Diane, it took Charles and Beth time apart to realize they were destined for each other. Both had left Michigan, and in place of the monthly letters Jan and Diane used to keep in touch, they would randomly talk on the phone. “She called me, and she said she was back in town,” Charles recalled about their first official date. “She was moving back to Detroit, and I said, ‘Well, let’s get together for your birthday.” That birth-date sparked a romance that the two kept secret for a while. “My dad would say, ‘Are you and Charles dating? You’re spending a lot of time together,’” Beth added. “’No, dad, no, no. We’re hanging out as friends. Doing friend stuff.’”

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Dr. Pol and Diane are looking forward to their annual tradition – a Valentine’s dinner event with their church. For Charles and Beth, who are parents to two young children, finding the time to get away for a romantic date is a challenge. “Last year we did a lunch, a Valentine’s Day lunch,” Charles shared. “That’s probably what we’ll do again, a Valentine’s Day lunch when we can get somebody to watch the kids.”

When I asked Dr. Pol and Diane if they had any advice to couples who wish for a long and happy relationship like that, Jan laughed. “Many people ask us that. ‘How come you can stay together, working together, for 55 years?’ Two words: ‘Yes, dear.’” It’s advice that Charles admits he’s still working on. Diane had her own similarly humorous response: “The secret is I kick him out on the road to do farm calls, so he’s not with me all the time.”

There are even more anecdotes from Dr. Pol, Diane, Charles, and Beth in the full video interview.


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