Gray and Thea met in 1991 while living in Atlanta. Friends and family set them up, though neither was looking for a relationship at the time. But the two began dating and married April 29, 1994. They now live in Mint Hill, and Gray tells their story.
The setup: I had just moved to Atlanta to get my master’s degree in public administration at Georgia State. My brother, his wife and their friend group had all gone to college together and wanted to set “the new guy” up with Thea. She had just gotten out of a relationship and neither of us was looking to get involved. I should have known something was up when my brother and his wife threw a party and I didn’t see any of the usual suspects. The only other person I knew was Thea, and we ended up talking in the kitchen for hours.
Dropping by: Thea was managing a restaurant in Underground Atlanta at the time, so the next week I made up an excuse to stop in. For our first date we saw “Fatal Attraction” –which probably wasn’t the best first-date movie – but 18 years later we still laugh about it.
Keep it secret: We didn’t want to give our friends the satisfaction of being right, so when Thea and I started dating we didn’t tell them for months. A year and half later we decided to get married. We’d already bought our wedding bands and got married on a Friday at the courthouse before going out of town for the weekend. The few friends that were witnesses were sworn to secrecy, they weren’t allowed to say anything till we had our family ceremony six months later.
Home again: I grew up in Charlotte and we moved back to be close to family after we were married. We’ve had our ups and downs but after 18 years I’d definitely do it again. We’ve got two wonderful children and it’s been a journey, something I’m really glad I did. Hilary Trenda
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