Engaged around Valentine’s Day, Michigan couple in their 80s marry

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Jim Stephens and Connie Dorn never thought they would find love again after losing their longtime spouses.

They met at Covenant Village Senior Living Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Like other love stories, theirs started out as a friendship. They eventually realized there was a spark and got engaged around Valentine’s Day this year.

Over the weekend, the couple went from living across the building to sharing an apartment as husband and wife.

“I wore a lace dress, and it was perfect. I felt beautiful and feel very happy,” Dorn said about her wedding day.

The couple, both over 85, married in the church she has attended for decades, a compromise to Stephens’ idea for an elopement. 

“(My family) would have been heartbroken if they couldn’t have seen their mom, grandmother and great-grandmother get married,” Dorn explained, with Stephens nodding in agreement.

Showing obvious affection toward one another, Dorn’s hand seems to always be in Stephens’, his arm around her shoulder, her head tilted toward him with a smile on her face.

That’s not to say the wedding planning itself was a honeymoon. There were the typical stressful moments.

“I swear she was floating about two inches off the floor because nothing went right for that morning. Yet, by the end of the day, I had calmed her down and she was sitting there in my arms and said I feel great now,” Stephens said.

There have also been plenty of compromises as the two decided whose apartment to share and what pieces of furniture to keep. Having been married before for many years and with advice from their pastor, they’ve found the way forward.

“Patience, not demanding my way, realizing that this is not just my decision but it’s affecting both of us,” Stephens said as they offered advice for younger newlyweds.

They said friends have told them they thought they were beyond the stage where they could find love, but now they have hope that there is someone out there for them, too.

“(We’ve learned) that we don’t have to accept loneliness as we had before,” they both agreed.

Although Stephens and Dorn are still waiting until it’s safe to take their honeymoon, they seem to be in the honeymoon stage and they plan to stay there.

“We do believe God’s hand was in this,” Dorn said.

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