But in July 2020, Ms. Jenkins needed advice on how to counsel someone dealing with mental health issues. One day, while on Facebook, she noticed that Mr. Brown was a supervisor for a mental health company in Summerville, S.C. Despite her reluctance to contact him, she thought he would be able to offer her expert advice, she said.
Their talk turned out to be pleasant, and it went on for hours, during which both revealed that they had recently ended long-term relationships.
As the conversation continued, they were enveloped by a serene familiarity, Mr. Brown said. In October, after a steady series of reciprocal phone calls, she visited Mr. Brown in Walterboro, S.C., where he lived. She stayed at a Hampton Inn and a Home2 Suites as they spent time together and sorted through their feelings. Their friendship was renewed, and eventually their romance regained its spark.
“We’re both more mature. Lisa was in her late 20s and I was in my early 30s,” Mr. Brown, now 59, said. Ms. Jenkins is 57. “When you have fewer years in front of you than behind you, you’ve had time for introspection and time for clarity about what matters.”
On Sept. 10, the Rev. Victor T. Hall, a Baptist minister who ordained Ms. Jenkins in 2003, officiated the couple’s marriage. They were surrounded by 90 friends and relatives at the Penn Center on St. Helena Island, S.C., where one of the first schools for emancipated African Americans was founded. Both now reside in Yonkers.
“We knew in the 1990s and early 2000s that we wanted to marry each other — it was just that we each had the notion at different times,” Ms. Jenkins said. “But once we reconnected, we knew we were supposed to be together. We were in sync.”