Eharmony lets lovelorn click on reality -6/02
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
Wed Jun 26 15:46:15 EDT 2002
subject: Eharmony lets lovelorn click on reality -6/02
from: Smart Marriages
Neil Clark Warren will present a seminar on Sat night, # 610 "Finding the
Love of Your Life". This is especially interesting following on the heels
of the article I just sent on the new Marriage Project resarch on "Why Men
Warren will also be available to talk about plans to track the matches made
to see how well they do in the long run. - diane
Rocky Mountain News
Eharmony lets lovelorn click on reality
By Mark Wolf, News Staff Writer
June 22, 2002
Emily Smith was skeptical when she sat down at her keyboard to fill out a
profile for the online relationship service eharmony.com.
She was 28, a registered nurse working at Craig Hospital, taking graduate
courses. She'd tried one online service before, but the in-person meeting
that resulted hadn't gone well. The online dating revolution, she decided,
had just lost a soldier.
Her mother, whom Emily believed was beginning to have doubts that she would
ever find someone, tipped Emily to the service after seeing a segment about
it on a TV show.
After finishing the profile, she clicked the "Find Me a Match" button, but
without much enthusiasm: "I've been looking for one for 28 years and this is
going to find me one?"
About two weeks later, she received an e-mail saying the service had matched
her with some guy named Jason from Seattle. They communicated anonymously
through the eharmony server, then moved to exchanging e-mails and pictures.
Last October, they exchanged wedding vows in Genesee.
Emily and Jason were among 15 couples who met on eharmony and subsequently
married or are engaged to be married who gathered in Colorado Springs last
week to tape a segment of a Focus on the Family television show.
The couples who assembled last week are all Christians; eharmony estimates
that more than 60 percent of its 312,000 registered users are Protestants,
but the service matches all faiths as well the avowedly secular. Founder
Neil Clark Warren is a Princeton seminary graduate as well as a clinical
psychologist and author of a number of relationship books including the
best-seller Finding the Love of Your Life.
What makes the service different, Warren says, is a detailed 250-question
personality test, which is used to match members with similar attitudes,
values, beliefs and personality.
Eharmony.com's personality test is free but members must pay to communicate
with anyone who is matched with them. Rates are $249.95 for one year,
$159.95 for six months, $99.95 for three months or $49.95 for one month.
When it started nearly two years ago, the service wouldn't let members
exchange pictures until they had completed a five-step communication
They still encourage that, but now allow photos to be shared at any time in
the process, largely because men, who make up about one third of the
members, wanted to see pictures earlier in the process.
"Men are having a hard time with falling in love from the inside out,"
Emily and Jason, who also was skeptical of online services when he tried
eharmony, met in person two months after their online correspondence began.
"Stereotypically ? you meet somebody you're attracted to, go on a couple of
dates, get to know each other on a surface level, then maybe ask some hard
questions. With this, the hard questions are the first things you do," said
Jason, a Coast Guard officer stationed in Seward, Alaska, where he and Emily
live and are expecting their first child.
"We knew each other so well before we met in person that within two days of
being together we thought the other person was the one for us."
Becky Armstrong, 26, of Colorado Springs also didn't think much would result
when she told eharmony to find her a match. And, for a couple of months,
nothing did. Then Thom Skinner, a junior-high music teacher from Mount
Vernon, Ill., came up on a match.
"She's in education, too (she works for the Association for Christian
Schools International), and her beliefs and values sort of seemed in line
with what I was looking for," Thom said.
"After a month I got the nerve to ask her if we could communicate outside
eharmony on personal e-mail, then I got the courage to ask for her phone
number and a month and a half later we decided we wanted to meet each other.
"On the plane I'm thinking, 'How do I do this?' I was talking to anybody who
would listen: passengers, flight attendants."
The first few minutes weren't exactly promising.
"He wouldn't even look at me until we got in the car," recalled Becky. "Then
I gave him a big hug and we embraced for like five minutes. It was the
solidification of all those conversations we'd had."
They spent weekends together in eight states over the next six months. Last
November, with his junior-high band watching, Thom dropped to his knees and
popped the question to Becky. They will be married Aug. 3.
"In so much of our culture today it's so easy for women to get hyped up, get
tied into the emotion of 'What if this is the one?' With eharmony you kept
your feet on the ground and looked at the key criteria you were interested
in," Becky said.
Warren isn't surprised at the amount of initial skepticism people bring to
"There's kind of a give-up mentality out there. Seventy five percent of
people have experienced a broken relationship in their parents' or their own
lives," he said.
"If we can hold them on our site, people get over their skepticism. Couples
talk about how hard it is to tell people they met on the Internet."
Becky Armstrong is a convert:
"One of the things I hated most was people saying, 'Have you heard from your
Internet friend?' For the first couple of months I was hesitant to say we
met online. Now I love to tell our story."
Copyright 2002, Rocky
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