This Is How We Met: Bethany Suckrow's Story
This Is How We Met: Kurt Luitwieler's Story

This Is How We Met: Jennifer Luitwieler's Story

I feel fortunate to have come across Jen in the blogosphere this past year. If not for her, I never would have considered running. (Which, incidentally, is on hold until the weather and my schedule settles.) I'm grateful for her words of wisdom in her posts and in her fantastic book. She also makes me laugh on a regular basis. Pretty much, we're going to have to be friends forever.

Today is extra special as we also get to hear her husband Kurt's point of view.

I did not like the man I married the day I met him. Friday night in the social hall aka gymnasium of a glorious stone church in the posh neighborhood of Shadyside in Pittsburgh. It was fall, 1990. I had just finished a very serious summer of discipleship study in community. I was embarking on a very serious sophomore year as student of literature. I was awkward, nervous and kind of an obnoxious know-it-all whose confidence was only in her brain and not in her ability to catch the eye of the cute boy. I was as interested in cute boys as I was interested in licking the bottom of my shoe. I had important things to do and think and be.

And, despite not liking him, make no mistake, he was a cute boy. Tall, blonde, blue eyes, and athletically shaped, if you will, he could have been the lead actor in a World War II movie, playing the role of the wily, rebellious Aryan attempting to take down the Third Reich.

He sauntered past me during a conversation and made a rather ignominious start by belittling my very serious studies. As a Mr. Smartypants math student, he had a disregard for people like me who sat about on hilly quads, wearing berets and discussing "Leaves of Grass" as if Whitman danced among us, desperate for our opinions. Math and I were not friends, either, and so this boy and his "discrete math" (shhh) and his thermodynamics and his penchant for throwing footballs in a gym designed only for volleyballs, well, he was disconcerting. And kind of rude.

A year passed, and my interest in him did not warm so much as rise to room temperature. He was funny. He teased everyone. He did goofy things to make people laugh. He was not arrogant, as I had assumed; he was ... he was okay. He made people feel comfortable at our college fellowship, always a good thing. God gifts everyone differently, so I tried to accept his willingness to be weird.

But, like I said, it made me nervous. Serious people who do not know how to laugh have a hard time with people for whom laughing is as valuable as water. And then, he turned on the charm. I found myself talking to him in groups after fellowship, which was every Friday. We'd end up riding together to get ice cream, or the last two picking up chairs or uninterested in the movie playing in one of the dorms.

I remember a night in mid-October. The leaves had drifted into lush piles on the lawns at my school. What bright streaks of orange and red remained on the trees shushed above us as the cool wind of fall whispered the coming winter. We had already walked all over my very small campus; I had shown him the chapel where his fingers tinkled inexpertly over the grand piano. I pointed out the wing of the old mansion that comprised the English department, and gestured toward the cupola I had climb up into for a bird's eye view of the school. We had wound our way up and down the hills of Pittsburgh, until we arrived back at my dorm, where the rest of the group watched some movie.

Through the downstairs window, the blue light flickered across the leaf dusted lawn, a quietness shrouded our little school. I sat on the lawn, and he stood next to his bike, talking. He talked and talked and talked. Years later, I laugh at his loquaciousness that night; he's not as big a talker as I might have concluded then, but he does give me a run for my money.

When one rises from the deepest sleep to let out the dog or turn off a light, one tries to memorize that perfect spot of peace, hoping to return right back to it, knowing all along that there's no chance of finding that again. That's how I felt that night; if I moved, it would be over and we'd never reach that same level of blossoming comfort and wacky nerves that rooted me to the spot and kept me from noticing my ever colder hands.

It would be another few weeks before we began our love story, and another four years before we married. He makes me laugh every single day. The greatest gift he gave me was teaching me to smile, to laugh at my own mistakes. We've been married 17 years in May.


PhotoJennifer Luitwieler wrangles The Dog, a cat and 3 perfect angels who adore her and find her to be the best homeschool teacher ever in the universe. When she is not filling their spongelike brains with limitless knowledge, she wrangles ideas into sentences with an imaginary golden lasso. (of course it's imaginary. No one has a real golden lasso.) She writes on crafts and sports in monthly columns. Her first book, "Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of the Poo," was released in 2011. You can find her at, on twitter @jenluit and