July 12, 2007 was the day that my life changed…forever. First of all, to understand who we are as a couple you must first understand who we are as individuals. I married my high school sweetheart at the age of 19, and was married for seven years before my then husband walked into our living room and said, “I’m not sure if I’m in love with you.” I told him that if he even had to question it then I already knew the answer. That next day he filed for divorce, broke my heart, killed my spirit, took away my self-esteem, and shattered the life in which I’d become accustomed. For a week, I didn’t talk to anyone with the exception of my sister and best friend. I didn’t know how to begin picking up the pieces of my crumbling world and then one of my co-workers gave me the best piece of advice that I’ve ever received. She told me to make a list of every characteristic that I wanted in a man- from the way he looks, to the way I want to feel when I’m with him. By the time I had finished I had completed eight full pages, front and back! I remember thinking to myself that there is nobody on this planet that will EVER meet all of those criteria because it’s just not humanly possible. I did, however, know that I’d never settle for less than I deserved again.
I was put on eHarmony by my best friend, Melissa, who wanted to see if this dating service could do all that it said it could do, so she set up my profile without my knowledge in hopes that I’d at least meet some nice guys that might help build my self-esteem. She eventually confessed to what she’d done, and at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue my subscription but I decided to go ahead with it. I knew the caliber of men that I’d meet in a bar, or just out and about, and I knew that they weren’t even close to what I wanted, and needed. I was a member of eHarmony for 1 and a half years before they sent the profile of Michael Cline. We started communication July 12, 2007.
I was being sent about twenty matches a day and after a while you begin getting a feel for how to read if the match is right for you just by reading the top of their profile. When I opened his profile I just sat and stared because I was looking at my profile, almost exactly. We believed the same things, wanted the same characteristics in a partner, had the same hobbies, and within about 30 seconds I’d sent him the first round of questions! Within a day he had answered the questions and after receiving/sending his second round of questions I got a request for “fast track.” For those of you who don’t know, the fast track is a tool that Dr. Warren designed to allow open communication without having to use your personal email, and it lets the couple skip through the stages of communication and go straight to the end. I had NEVER used the fast track, and neither had Mike. That in itself showed that there was already a strong connection.
I accepted his invite and we began open communication the next day. We were writing once a day, back and forth…sometimes more. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to talk to this stranger. I found myself checking my email every few hours because I was so drawn to this man that I’d never seen in person. Within two weeks, we’d shared more information with each other than we’d ever shared with anyone our entire lives.
Our compatibility was uncanny. We’d both grown up with musical families and were musicians ourselves. Our mothers played the piano/organ for the church. Both of our hearts were shattered by people who didn’t deserve us and although we didn’t expect eHarmony to work, we had to sign up because we couldn’t shake the feeling that our one true love was out there. Our professions were geared towards helping others. I’d lost my grandparents and great-grandparents while Mike had lost his dad and grandparents, which had all been a major factor in both of our lives. We listened to the same types of music, wanted the same number of children, and shared the same goals and dreams. Even our birthdays are only 12 days apart!
By the way…remember the eight page list? Mike had every single trait that I was looking for, and had we not signed on to eHarmony I would never have found him because he lived 800 miles away! We were completely honest with one another because somehow we knew that the other would be okay with it. My biggest confession came when I told him that I was unable to have children naturally due to the fact that I had to have a hysterectomy at the age of 23. I knew that because we were both in our late 20’s that having children would be coming sooner rather than later, and I didn’t feel that it was fair to Mike not to let him know right up front. I knew that this one bit of information could be a deal breaker. I prayed before I sent that email, and when I read his response I began crying. He had been adopted.
We joke that all of our loved ones that have passed away must have called a meeting with God to get us together because it just so happens that July 12th is also my deceased grandmother’s birthday, and for the simple fact that most people never get the chance to experience a love like ours.
We continued emailing, talking on the phone, doing instant messaging, and texting because of the very lengthy commute. I was absolutely head over heels in love with Mike before I ever held his hand or saw him in person. Luckily, he felt the same way and it wasn’t long before we just couldn’t stand not being together so about two months after our first communication Mike made the long journey to Texas. We were both so nervous that I thought I’d throw up and he’d pass out. We were quite the pair! We loved spending time together and I knew that we were about to be in some serious trouble because of the distance factor. We did the best with what we had to work with- long weekends, plane tickets, trading out who came where each weekend, and before long, it became too hard to leave one another. We would put off leaving until the very last second and then typically I’d cry a little more each time. We knew that if we didn’t move to the same city we were going to go insane, so in November of 2007 I moved to Iowa while Mike was finishing up with his Paramedic certification. In December he asked me to be his bride, and the rest is history!
We were married July 12th, 2008 on our one year anniversary from the date that we started communicating on eHarmony, in California on the beach surrounded by our loved ones. The day was filled with love, laughter, and lots of happy tears. Shortly after the wedding we moved to my home state of Texas so that I could finish my two degrees and Mike could work as a Paramedic. We’ve already been through so much in the past year that most couples could never make it through- job layoffs, a distance relationship, the heart attack and stroke of Mike’s mother and almost losing her, trying to finish school while planning a wedding, relocation, and the schedule of a being a full time student and employee just to name a few. I believe that we have made through all of these things even as a relatively new couple because we have a deep, life long, soul mate, a scene from The Notebook (in reference to the movie The Notebook–all the chicks will know what I’m talking about!) connection. There are moments when I look at my wedding band and can’t believe that I was ever able to trust another man. I look at the man who holds my hand and I finally understand why I had to have my heart broken long ago…so that he could put it back together again.
My friends and family have been inspired by our relationship and the love we have for one another. So much in fact that my first cousin joined eHarmony and found a match that she’s been dating seriously now for about six months, as well as a couple of friends that have joined and also found their sweeties. I tell everyone about eHarmony because nobody should miss what Mike and I have found…each other.
Thank you Dr. Warren for creating a safe, dating environment that allows a person to meet others from so many different walks of life. You will forever be our hero! For all of you skeptics out there- I didn’t believe that eHarmony worked even though deep down I really wanted to believe that it could, so just know that you’re not alone, but don’t let your doubt, or fear, stop you from possibly meeting “the one” who will change your life forever. Hang in there ’cause they’re out there!