KANNAPOLIS — You don't have to do the searching — eHarmony will do it for you. It's a catchphrase from the popular online dating site that contends an average of 542 people marry nationwide every day as a result of being matched through the site.
Shane and Melissa Little are one of those couples. The two met through eHarmony and in June will celebrate seven years of marriage.
Melissa, a native of New York, had joined another online dating site and had been matched with a few people, but just wasn't comfortable. She decided to give eHarmony a try.
Shane had met a couple of people, but the matches didn't last long.
How it works
Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a psychologist and theologian, founded eHarmony in 2000. It began as a Christian singles dating site and slowly developed into one of the most popular online dating sites nationwide. It is most commonly known for its Compatibility Matching System. The system includes an extensive questionnaire that is designed to determine a person's core beliefs and values, how a person relates to another and even if someone is athletic or a homebody.
Singles join the site for a $50 monthly subscription and complete the compatibility test. Members are matched with a number of compatible people. If a member wants to get to know the matched individual, he or she can communicate through the site. If the matched people want to know more about each other, they can ask more questions via the site.
Shane saw the commercial one Saturday night and decided to fill out the questionnaire.
“I just sat down and started filling out the profile. I don't even think I finished it the first night,” he said.
Melissa was among the first round of potential matches eHarmony decided was compatible with Shane. She signed onto eHarmony with no expectation since she'd just ended a 10-year relationship.
“It was a way for me to get to know people,” she said.
Melissa had just moved to the area and knew very few people.
Shane on the other hand was looking to settle down.
The two purposely did not include their profile pictures on the site. The site identifies members by first name and city. In the beginning Shane was just known as “Shane from Charlotte” and Melissa was listed as “Melissa from Concord.”
The two could only talk through the site and eventually began corresponding through instant messenger and later the phone.
Shane was matched with a lot of teachers, but isn't sure which questions he answered led to those specific matches.
“They ask you the same type of questions, multiple times just in different ways,” he said.
Safety is key
The couple were matched in 2004 at a time when very few of their friends were using online dating sites to meet someone.
In a time when most of what's negative about an online dating site is the scams, the couple say eHarmony lessens the chance of meeting a dishonest person.
“They sort of create the profile about you based on your answers. You also don't go looking for people, they send you people who they think you may be compatible with,” he said.
Shane added it's hard to intentionally be dishonest in responses since the questionnaire repeats many of the same questions.
The site encourages members to use caution when arranging to meet and discourages sharing personal information.
You're the One
The first date was at O'Charleys, which was a public neutral place — an eHarmony suggestion.
A snowstorm sidelined their third date and Shane spent a night on Melissa's couch.
The Littles say within six months they knew they'd found their match.
Melissa's father joked about the couple being compatible.
He said “y'all are compatible when are you guys going to get married,' ” Shane said.
They met around the Super Bowl and have made that time of the year their unofficial anniversary.
When the two received pre-marital counseling through the Lutheran church they again took a compatibility test.
The church had its own compatibility determinant. Shane and Melissa scored in the highest percentile.
Shane and Melissa have two children — Patrick, 5, and Delaney, eight months.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.