Their initial spark later leads to lasting bond

04/19/2014 7:47 PM

04/19/2014 7:47 PM

Karen Luthi, 25, was walking down a hallway at WDAF-TV, Channel 4, when she first saw 32-year-old Jeff Hardeman. “My heart skipped a beat,” she says.

“Our eyes met and I felt a jolt,” Jeff recalls.

Despite the initial chemistry, they soon learned they were each in other relationships. It was December 1989, and over several years of working together, Karen and Jeff became good friends. They played volleyball with a group from work and liked the same bands and movies.

First impressions:

Karen: “Jeff was thoughtful, kind and easy to talk to.”

Jeff: “Karen was genuine, with a great sense of humor.”

The unfolding:

By June 1992, they were working at different companies, and neither was in a relationship. They kept in touch through their circle of mutual friends.

One night they were out with a group, listening to live music. Toward the end of the evening, when all their friends had gone home, Jeff leaned over and kissed Karen.

“That was it,” Karen says. “We went from being friends to starting our romantic relationship.”

The proposal and wedding:

They began dating. Karen soon knew Jeff was the man for her, but Jeff was cautious and wanted to take things slowly.

By February 1995, Jeff was ready to commit, and he planned to propose during their vacation in the Cayman Islands. But a fiasco with lost luggage delayed the perfect evening. Ever flexible, Jeff altered his romantic dinner plans and proposed late at night on the beach, ring in hand. Karen was surprised and thrilled.

They were married in Kansas City on Nov. 25, 1995.

Favorite shared activities:

They love listening to music and traveling nationally and globally with their family. They enjoy having “life experiences.”

Careers:

Jeff owns Trio Events International, an event planning company specializing in sports marketing. Karen works at a telecommunications company as a marketing manager.

Family:

They live in Leawood with their three teenage children.

What keeps their relationship strong:

They are focused on their family but make time for lunch dates so they can stay connected to each other.

How they are different:

They complement each other. Karen is outgoing and talkative; Jeff is quiet and keeps them grounded.

The qualities they most appreciate in each other:

Karen: “Jeff loves to take care of us. He’s focused on others and giving. He’s also the world’s best cook. I couldn’t have picked someone who’s a better fit.”

Jeff: “Karen is the most caring, loving person I’ve ever met. We’ve enjoyed a long and wonderful relationship.”

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