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Love Stories Readers’ tales of romance


Gina and Chris Hermansen

Love letters
We’re looking for young married couples to tell us how they fell in love. How did you meet? What were your first impressions? How was your first date? What attracted you to each other?

Gina, 39, and Chris, 34, met in 2005 at the Tucson, Ariz., church they attended: Gina as a member, Chris as a new pastor. At age 30, Gina had two young daughters and had just lost her husband to cancer. A mutual interest in hiking helped them get to know one another. They married Feb. 17, 2007, and live in Matthews. Gina tells their story.

On the trail: Chris and I were introduced after the death of my husband and found that we both enjoyed hiking. About five months later, I asked Chris about a particular trail head he’d mentioned, as I wanted to hike while my girls were with the baby sitter. He asked who I was going with and, having become an independent woman, I had planned to go solo. But Chris insisted on coming, thinking my daughters would be orphans if I fell off the mountain.

Moving forward: During that three-hour hike we got to know one another pretty well. After that, he was a frequent visitor at my house: playing with the kids, watching movies, eating meals with us. He had an immediate love for my girls and made me feel like someone special. With limited baby-sitting resources, we joke our wedding day was only our fifth date outside the house.

In due course: As a rule, pastors can’t date members of their congregations, so he had to get permission from the church council for our relationship to proceed. I can’t help but think God has a hand in things when I reflect on timing. Chris’s humor was a breath of fresh air, I love how quick he is on his feet and the vulnerability he expressed in our talks and views on life.

New calling: We had a whirlwind romance: We started dating in May 2006, he proposed that October and we married in February. By March I was pregnant and in August we moved to Charlotte after he was called to Christ Lutheran Church. We love our life together with our three kids in Matthews. Hilary Trenda


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