Words by Peggy Purser Freeman

Photography by Shad Ramsey Photography and Dawn Skinner

When you’ve been married to Mo of “Mo and Bro” fame (AKA Carey Dyer) for 23 years, you can probably write a book on marriage. If you’re Dena Dyer, award winning Christian author, speaker, and entertainer, you do just that. I recently sat down with Granbury’s own family of fun to find the love story behind their new book, Love at First Fight.

A gifted professional singer, speaker, comedian and one of the first performers at Granbury Live, under the direction of founder Tom McRay, Carey rose to be one of the top entertainers in Texas. With the change of a hat, his family-friendly humor and high-octane energy can bring Elvis, Roy Orbison, Bob Willis, Eddie Arnold and more to life. While being entertained by the legendary Mo, I often wonder what it’s like to be married to that shade of crazy. Dena Dyer’s face lights up when she answers that question. “Humor has always been a big part of our relationship. Laughing helps us de-stress and find common ground in the midst of life’s craziness.”

In their show, “Happily Ever Laughter” Dena explains how they met. “You see, I had a thing for short guys who lived with their mother.” After twenty-three years of marriage, Carey says he has learned not to tell Dena “the way his mother did it.” Their first book together was birthed from their experiences.

In Love at First Fight, they share their heart in 52 devotionals for couples. Carey adds, “Instead of just writing for other characters, it’s nice to share some of our own stories. It’s scary and a bit vulnerable, but it’s rewarding.” By sharing humorous, personal stories from both the male and female perspective with the “He says, She says” format, the Dyers hope readers discover that a resilient and fulfilling marriage can be realized through hard work, forgiveness, God’s grace—and a sense of humor.

As a teen, Dena had devotionals, short stories and poems published in a variety of magazines including Listen, Teen, Seventeen, Young Ambassador and EC. Dena’s books include: Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms; Mothers of the Bible; and Let the Laugh Lines and Wrinkles Come. She co-authored The Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Peace and The Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Love; and Wounded Women of the Bible which won a Golden Scroll Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year in 2014.

Carey has performed in 46 states—solidifying his role on stage as a professional entertainer, and his writing has appeared in several periodicals and drama collections. As a featured arranger and songwriter, his creative arrangements have been performed by vocal groups all over the country. Awarded “Best Vocalist of the Month,” by Singer Universe Magazine, he is also a member of the Christian Comedy Association. However, his favorite role is hubby and daddy.

I ask Carey what keeps him motivated in his high-energy performances. “You mean besides Mountain Dew?” he answers. “Seriously, besides trying to keep ourselves vocally and physically healthy for performing, we also rely on the Lord to keep us spiritually and emotionally healthy. Some people don’t understand this, but it really does take a lot out of you to share yourself on stage.”

“If marriage were a font, ours would be ‘wing-ding.’”

Carey and Dena Dyer share their
Happily Ever Laughter.

Carey has performed in 46 states—solidifying his role on stage as a professional entertainer, and his writing has appeared in several periodicals and drama collections. As a featured arranger and songwriter, his creative arrangements have been performed by vocal groups all over the country. Awarded “Best Vocalist of the Month,” by Singer Universe Magazine, he is also a member of the Christian Comedy Association. However, his favorite role is hubby and daddy.

I ask Carey what keeps him motivated in his high-energy performances. “You mean besides Mountain Dew?” he answers. “Seriously, besides trying to keep ourselves vocally and physically healthy for performing, we also rely on the Lord to keep us spiritually and emotionally healthy. Some people don’t understand this, but it really does take a lot out of you to share yourself on stage.”

have real, deep, unconditional relationships with friends and loved ones takes honesty and a willingness to be vulnerable.”

Carey calls it “A ‘warts and all” approach to life. “It’s really the only way to truly connect with people.” “Flaws are universal, and when we recognize that and admit we need help—that’s when we can look up and find our strength in God.”

Dena shares the importance of a hard time in a marriage. “After a miscarriage and other personal losses, I went through a pretty severe depression. It lasted (and deepened) after having our first son, which surprised me because I’d wanted to be a mother since I was a little girl. Carey was supportive, but didn’t really understand what was going on. And I wish I’d been more open with my friends. I did seek counseling and medical attention, and that was life-changing.”

Dena’s strength is in her writing. Carey’s creativity shines in events such as the Granbury Living Christmas Cards, presented to hundreds at Christmas time on the Historic Square. However, he confesses a new joy while working on their book. “Believe it or not, writing a book together was really fun. The devotions are based on stories from our marriage, so it was like a walk down memory lane. We shared lots of laughs and even a few tears. It’s actually pretty therapeutic.”

“Carey came into my writing world for the first time, and I was a little apprehensive about how it would go.” Dena laughs. “Writing a book is a marathon, and it’s not for the faint of heart. But we both enjoyed the process. Also, we loved the time we spent putting our ‘Happily Ever Laughter’ show together. It combines songs and stories from our life together, as well as many of the things we love—family, laughter, music, comedy, and storytelling.”

Summing up his tips for marriage, Carey adds, “Every marriage goes through ups and downs, but God’s love can fill in the gaps of our human-ness and give us healthy—even joyful—union.”

Together and separately, Carey and Dena often perform for marriage and women’s events, fundraisers, and conferences. Love at First Fight is available at Lifeway Christian Stores, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and many online vendors. To find out more about the Dyers and their ministry, visit www.careyanddena.com.