The Perfect Stranger

Forty years ago today, I married a total stranger. after aisle

I know, most people say they married “their best friend” but Dennis and I can’t make that claim. We had only known each other for six months and half of that time we lived in different states. So, though we weren’t total strangers we had a LOT to learn about each other.

bridesmaids seated

Our first 10 years we enjoyed learning each other’s quirks and likes and hopes and dreams—everything we thought we needed to know to live together forever. But four years into that first decade we started having children and we needed to get to know them, too…so we told ourselves we would postpone our learning exercises until “the kids get older.”

In our second decade the child rearing was going well. Our boys were thriving and we were spending a lot of our time taking care of them. We spent time talking to each other about how to parent, but not so much about each other—what we could do to make our relationship better. That’s when the first big challenge came. Some of these problems were of our own doing, some were not. Some we could fix easily, but some would take a long time. We had a crossroad where we had to ask ourselves a hard question. Would we hang in there and learn what we needed to learn no matter how hard the lesson? With God’s strength and blessing we accepted the challenge. Wedding parents

We entered our third decade having raised our sons and placing them into the capable hands of their wives to hone the rest of their rough edges. (And the ladies are doing excellent jobs I might add!) Still we had a lot of our own to work on. It was during this time that we faced another test. What would we do next? Our careers, which were totally intertwined, were taking some interesting turns and we reached out first to each other. But the real great lessons in this era were learned when we both joined hands and reached out to God—spending more time on our knees than ever before. Not only did we learn a lot about God, but we saw flaws in our faith—we hadn’t been putting our faith into practice. We had been rather self-sufficient until that point. So we asked ourselves, “Do we believe this or not?” “Do we trust Him or not?” Someone said during this time in our lives, “The Lord would not have taught you to swim to let you drown.” How true!

So, in this fourth decade, we’ve learned everything there is to know. NOT! In fact, we have asked for more tests of our faith and more analysis assignments and vowed to never stop learning. In that process we’ve learned so much more about ourselves—two almost total strangers who God put together 40 years ago. I’m sure He’s had fun watching us learn how to become “best friends.”

P.S. He went to Jared’s.



6 thoughts on “The Perfect Stranger

  1. Cindy Hardin

    I love your transparency! Happy Anniversary tomorrow! May you have 40 more special years together. Still missing you all! P.S. He DID go to Jared’s….stunning! Much love….

  2. Clyde Allen

    DENNIS and NAN
    You have blessed our lives in so many ways. You are loved more than you will ever know. ————–‘Mom’ and’ Dad’ ALLEN

  3. Linda

    God did a wonderful thing putting you two together! May He continue to bless your marriage! Happy Anniversary, Dennis and Nan!

  4. June Corbitt

    Ok, ok……….maybe ..just maybe I was wrong and God was right. Maybe Dennis is THE one for you. I have had a lot to learn in 40 years too. Okay, if y’all will do this again I promise I will smile this time. (Notice the blonde Maid of Honor definitely has a frown.) Ok….ok…….

    I love both of you very much.


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