a love story and $100 gift card!! :)

When eHarmony and BlogHer asked me if I had an eHarmony story I could share here, on Valentine's day no less, I immediately thought of my sister-in-law Carolyn, who met her wonderful husband Jason through eHarmony. I will let her words tell her story for the most part, but let me tell you a few things as an observer of their relationship, you know, from the outside looking in.
Their union and relationship is a very apparent perfect match. You can tell when you meet some couples that they work perfectly together and are clearly meant to be together. I don't know anyone who knows Carolyn and Jason who would say they aren't perfect together...they complement each other well, their strengths and weaknesses exist together in a way that seems impossible. They are like Doug and me in that they have found the person who will love them in the best, most selfless way, who will encourage them in their successes and failures, and who can take both their best and worst.
I feel like they are proof that eHarmony does their homework to ensure amazing results, but I'll let Carolyn tell you how she feels about it all. ****************************************************************
1) What made you choose eHarmony once you decided to try online dating?
I was living in a new city at the time I tried eHarmony. I was at a stage in my life where I wanted to meet someone, and I felt like I was at a really healthy place. I knew myself well, and I knew I was no longer interested in dating for dating's sake. I prayed about it, which might sound funny, but I was making a financial investment to try it for 3 months, and at that time in my life I didn't have a lot of extra money. It seemed like every time I watched TV I kept seeing more of those commercials and thought I'd give it a try. Also, someone I really trusted admitted to having had a good experience with eHarmony. Other than that one person I didn't tell anyone I was trying and decided to just see where the experiment took me. I decided to try eHarmony over the other companies because I had read books by Dr. Neil Clark Warren and appreciated his perspective on relationships. After completing my initial inventory I felt confident in the results I received and was excited about the match between who I was and what eHarmony said I was looking for. It honestly felt right.
2) How has that decision impacted your life?
Well, I met the man I honestly believe was put on the planet to make me the best version of me. Most people who meet us for the first time assume we are high school sweethearts and have been together for years. In reality, when I was in high school in New Jersey, he was in college in Michigan. I think for me personally it was a faith journey; I like to control things and make things happen and leaving my future relationship in God's hands was a huge step of surrender. So that prayer: "Lord close the door that you don't want me to walk through and only open doors that are of you," really protected me both from myself and things that might have distracted me from meeting Jason.
3) Tell me about your eHarmony journey, matches, selection process etc? How did you feel about the process?
I joined eHarmony after craning my neck in church one Sunday to see if the pianist had a ring on. It felt like the time was right, and that trusted friend and those commercials just pushed me over the edge. I was not sure at first, but the first couple of matches really did intrigue me. In the beginning the process allows you to read about other people and see what you have in common, then you can choose to communicate using the system so that your phone # and email address are not out there. I spoke to a few people in the beginning but didn't connect with anyone initially until Jason.
I did get to the point where I spoke with 2 other guys on the phone, but I could quickly tell we were not good matches for each other, and we cordially went our way. Every person I was matched with I valued as an individual and could tell why we had been matched. I even got connected with a guy I went to college with even though we were 3 states away from our alma mater at the time. He and I both agreed if we hadn't dated in college we probably wouldn't need to date at that stage. I liked that the system allowed me to gradually go deeper with people. In the beginning I chose questions to ask of my matches but got to a stage where I could ask my own questions to really get at their heart. It was a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable process. I usually loved going to my computer to see what new communication I had received. I could discreetly close communication and matches without having to "let them down"; the system did that work for me
4) Tell me your success story!?
I was matched with Jason on March 19. We began to communicate via the system and would write back and forth multiple times a day, I'm not sure what it was in the beginning, but I was very at ease with him and wasn't even trying to come up with answers, I was just 100% myself. I could tell he and I had a lot in common, and one afternoon (April 4th) he gave me his phone number and offered to find a time for us to talk that weekend on Palm Sunday (April 6th). I called that night while home visiting my family in New Jersey, and we talked for 2.5 hours. It was the easiest conversation I have ever had with anyone. We spoke the next day and the next day and quickly made plans for him to come visit me where I was living the weekend of April 23.
He got out of the car, and I knew instantly I was going to enjoy every minute we had together that weekend. For our "first date" we went to the children's zoo in the city where I was living. 6 hours of pure joy! We laughed and talked like we had known each other for years. We enjoyed making meals together that weekend and meeting my co-workers and friends. Everyone acknowledged they could see what I could see, which was that he was so easy to be with and such a solid guy full of adventure and integrity. He was supposed to leave on Sunday night but had already asked my co-worker who he was staying with if he could sleep over one more night and told me he would be leaving after breakfast on Monday-which turned into after lunch
He traveled abroad in May for 4 weeks teaching a class in New Zealand. I knew he had captured my heart when he would call from across the globe just to say hey. He sent flowers half way through his trip via a local florist and cards so I continued to hear from him even though he was time zones away.
When he returned in June we made plans for him to attend my best friend's wedding in New Jersey in July and to meet my family. He asked my parents for my hand in August, proposed in September, and we were married the following June.
My life with him is full and wonderful. The things I adore about him, that he loves people so well, he can talk to anyone about anything and that he is fully present when he is with you, also make me crazy-his love of people means we are the last to get in the car after church; his ability to talk to anyone means we tend to know the life story of EVERY waiter or waitress we've ever had, and his fully presentness means no matter how many times I call, if he is meeting with a student or colleague he rarely answers the phone because he's 100% present with those in front of him.
My 3 brothers enjoy him, at least I think they do; he's blended into my family really well which is hard when you are the only girl. My friends see how he makes me a better version of me and how he has pushed and challenged me as well...our cup overflows as we just welcomed a sweet baby girl into our lives, and after 6 years of marriage we are enjoying co-parenting.
We'll be married 7 years in June, and I truly feel like God blessed me via eHarmony with my Jason! Just for fun every now and again I log back into eHarmony. Even though I am not a paying member I can see my conversations back and forth with Jason, and I feel like us being so honest with each from day one built a healthy foundation for a great relationship. It's not easy; he's not perfect and neither am I, but it sure is fun, and I love the adventure!
5) Anything you would like to share in regards to your experience and whether or not you would encourage others to go this route?
It's not a dating service. Don't try eHarmony to find someone to fill your days, but it's worth it if you are willing to invest in the relationship process. Know some people get "denied" if the survey results show they are not ready/prepared for a relationship. I don't know what that is all about, but it has happened to many of my friends who later look back and see they were not at the right place for a relationship for one reason or another. I honestly think anytime you can come to the end of yourself and trust God with your life in an area you can't control then you are bound to be blessed! ****************************************************************
Now is it just me, or that a fun and encouraging story? It's always fun to hear how couples are brought together, and I am always amazed at the perfectly coordinated ones...my secret prayer is that her story will inspire at least ONE of you to have hope. And maybe there are more than one of you have been considering trying eHarmony. To you I say: if it feels right, go for it!

To celebrate this day of love eHarmony and Blogher are giving away one $100 giftcard to one of you!

To be entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, answer the following question in comments! What is the most important character trait your partner must have and why?
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 2/14/2012 - 3/15/2012.
Visit the BlogHer.com eHarmony page to check out more blogger success stories and for more chances to win!

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