John Schmiechen and Theodore Lewis were married at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church on Oct. 4, a culmination of 13 years together.
Casually introduced by a mutual friend, Schmiechen, a former nonprofit-fundraising consultant, and Lewis, a computer engineer, got together about a year after they first met.
“John was really nice but I was with someone at the time,” Lewis said. “But I knew it wasn’t going to work out, so I kept his number.”
“And I made sure to keep track of him,” Schmiechen added. “I think I fell in love immediately, but he was doing his own thing for about a year. Then we finally got together.”
The two dated for about a year before deciding to make their first big decision together: buying a house.
“I was living on Kater Street at the time and John was in Fitler Square,” Lewis said. “We decided to buy a home on Passyunk Square.”
“We called it the grandma special,” Schmiechen joked. “It had five bedrooms but needed a complete gut and renovation.”
The new home would take several years to renovate, so the couple lived in Schmiechen’s house.
“Moving into John’s tiny trinity in Fitler was a true test,” Lewis said. “It was like putting two mice into a cage and seeing what would happen.”
The limitations of space and comfort ultimately proved to be a great adventure for the couple, who were able to indulge in one of their shared passions, home improvement and renovation.
The couple made several improvements and upgrades to the Fitler trinity while their home on Passyunk Square was being renovated. When the time came to move into the remodeled home, “the trinity sold in just three days,” Schmiechen said.
“It sold so fast, we only had two weeks to move out.”
After a brief stay at a friend’s apartment, the couple finally moved into their new home.
“It took about six years,” Lewis said. “Then we needed to consolidate. And that was the big step for us.”
Lewis sold his car and his home on Kater Street, completely merging lives with Schmiechen.
The couple always thought they would get married but didn’t really think about when, since it was not legal in Pennsylvania, Schmiechen said.
They were in California when they heard the news of the marriage ban being lifted in the Keystone State.
“We called our minister at St. Mark’s as soon as we got back,” Lewis said.
Faith had long been a part of Schmiechen’s life — there are several ministers in his family — and he is actively involved in church life, but according to Lewis, “Faith was not really a part of my life before I met John. I grew up Presbyterian, but wasn’t practicing. I think he brought that spiritual aspect back into my life. I didn’t even realize I was missing it,” Lewis said.
Faith in God and in one another has been a binding element in their relationship.
“When one of us ‘falls,’ the other is there to ‘catch’ us,” Lewis said.
Following the ceremony at St. Mark’s, a reception was held at Estia restaurant. The couple honeymooned on a Viking River Cruise in Europe.