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Casual friends discover they are perfect for each other

How does friendship turn to love? Many a romantic comedy has explored that question. Kari Kibler and Thomas Kossler answered it in their own unique way.

They met six years ago at a birthday party at Gordy’s Inn in Cheektowaga. When Kari met Tom, she was amazed that they hadn’t met sooner, considering all the friends they had in common. She knew right away that she really liked him.

For three years, though, they were just friends.

“He used to say, ‘I don’t like labels. I’m not ready for a relationship.’ We were hanging out all the time, neither one of us was dating anyone else – and I finally said, ‘Well, this is a relationship.’ He said it wasn’t,” she said.

“Finally I said, ‘You know what, Tom, you’re a good person, I would rather be your friend than nothing at all.’ The pressure was off. And a couple of months later, he said, ‘This is a relationship. This is what I want.’ By then, the foundation was solid. We knew a lot about each other. We knew we could trust each other.”

Kari, who went to Sacred Heart Academy and SUNY Buffalo State, is very well spoken and chooses her words carefully. Though she and her husband share a lively sense of humor, she sounds like a person who thinks things out.

“I consider myself incredibly lucky,” she said. “One of the things I liked about him was that we had mutual friends. If everyone in my life knows him, and likes him, he must be a good person.

“You know those people who always say, ‘You’ll marry a man like your father,’ and you say, ‘Like hell I will’?” Those people were right, she laughed.

“He has old-fashioned values, old-fashioned morals. With me growing up in a private school with God shoved down our throats, I had the same. I wanted that, and it’s hard to find in the world. He’s a great listener, a great friend. Everyone says he is one of the most genuine people, who cares very much about the people in his life. And he’s cute,” she added, lightening up. “He’s got dimples. If you could put that in there, he would die. Because that’s what I call him, Dimples. Everyone on Facebook calls him Dimples.”

Whatever he’s called, her husband fits in with her family.

“One of my favorite people in my life is my grandfather,” Kari said. “He’s the reason I went to Sacred Heart. My parents had four kids, and couldn’t afford to send us all to private school. My grandfather said this should be a priority. He passed away when I was 18 or 19. I’ve had everyone who met Tom say, ‘Your grandfather would love him.’ ”

One other serendipity makes her laugh.

“I also like to joke that – well, I am definitely a Democrat, and my family is not,” she said. “So I feel I gave them a gift in that Tom’s a Republican.”

Kari L. Kibler and Thomas Kossler were married at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in Kloc’s Grove, West Seneca, where a reception was held following the ceremony. The Rev. Robert J. Norrix of Christ United Methodist Church, Amherst, heard the couple’s vows. The bride’s parents are Jeffrey M. and Joan M. Kibler of Cheektowaga. The bridegroom’s parents are William T. and Elizabeth Kossler of Williamsville. The bride is a graduate of Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart. She earned a bachelor of science degree from SUNY Buffalo State. The bride is a center director at Huntington Learning Center. The groom is a graduate of Amherst High School. He earned a degree from SUNY Buffalo State. He is a manager at Tony’s Pizzeria. The couple will make their home in Cheektowaga.

– Mary Kunz Goldman

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