Night of dancing launched Tim and Karen Carlin’s romance

08/09/2014 7:00 AM

08/09/2014 12:00 PM

“Can you dance?” Tim Carlin asked.

“If I have a good leader,” Karen Gecas answered.

It was Dec. 20, 2002, at a TGIF ballroom dance party in Chicago. Earlier, Karen, 36, had noticed Tim across the crowded room and thought, “He’s cute.”

Tim, 42, had also noticed Karen and wanted to dance with her. That evening, they danced the waltz, rumba, swing and foxtrot, Karen following Tim beautifully. When the party ended, the couple went to a salsa club, where they danced until 2 a.m.

First impressions:

Karen: “I liked how open and honest we were together. Tim has a kind heart, and we connected on a deep level in a way I hadn’t with anyone else.”

Tim: “I felt Karen’s loyalty and devotion and I knew Karen was a special person. We shared similar life goals and I felt she would be a good teammate.”

The unfolding: After the salsa dancing, they went to Tim’s condo, where Karen happened to glance inside his closet. “He had 20 suits neatly hanging with an inch between them,” Karen says. “I thought, ‘This is my guy.’ ”

Though Tim and Karen had been in relationships, neither had married.

“I was open to love and figured someday it would happen,” Karen says. “When I met Tim, I knew he was the man for me.”

The next afternoon, Karen called her mom and said, “I think I met ‘the one.’” She emailed friends the same message.

The proposal and wedding: Meanwhile, Tim, who was between jobs, was scheduled to leave for a three-month cruise on Jan. 4, working as a gentleman host. “I have to propose to this beautiful woman before someone else scoops her up,” he thought.

So he took Karen out to dinner and proposed. She looked at Tim and said, “Yes, it feels right.”

Karen planned the wedding while Tim worked on the cruise. They were married in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands on May 6, 2003.

Careers: Shortly after the wedding, Tim decided to work for Edward Jones as a financial adviser. Within a couple of months, they moved to Overland Park, where Tim opened an office. Karen worked as a legal secretary until 2008, when she began working with Tim as branch office administrator.

Favorite activities: They enjoy yoga, traveling, entertaining clients and attending local arts and philanthropic events.

What keeps their relationship strong: They talk everything through. They enjoy many activities together and love venturing outside their normal routine to try new things.

The qualities they most appreciate in each other:

Karen: “Tim is smart, worldly and a good provider. He is also a truly caring individual.”

Tim: “Karen is compassionate, consistent and she wants to do the right thing. She’s loyal, honest and I totally trust her.”

Deborah Shouse is a freelance writer. Suggest a Love Story couple by writing to

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