EHarmony takes on matrimony

The conservative online dating site offers help once the honeymoon is over.

Published February 6, 2006 3:07PM (EST)

These days we have digital matchmaking, digital dating, and digital sex -- so why not digital couples therapy?

A short article in the Los Angeles Times reports that today super-successful (and conservatively Christian) online dating company eHarmony will launch a new feature that its silver-haired spokesman and founder, Neil Clark Warren, calls "a marriage wellness service."

Like its dating program, eHarmony's marriage service begins by asking couples to fill out an encyclopedic 310-item questionnaire touching on topics as varied as romance, stress, communication and sex. For $75, a computer magically processes the data, compiles the couple's strengths and weaknesses -- I imagine something like the Gobstopper machine from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- and spits out a report. And for couples in need of more than a quick fix, a set of instructional videos, hosted by Warren himself, can be added to the package.

Though eHarmony boasts a remarkably high match rate -- Warren tells the Times that more than 16,000 marriages have resulted from matches on the site since it was founded in 2000 -- of course not every couple ends up in wedded bliss. (For proof, read Rebecca Traister's article about the site and its founder.) Is the new service just a genius way of profiting off romantic successes and failures? When those 16,000 couples start having trouble in paradise, they shouldn't expect special treatment: eHarmony offers no discounts on its marriage program for returning customers from its dating service.

By Sarah Karnasiewicz

Sarah Karnasiewicz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Until recently, she was senior editor at Saveur magazine; prior to that she was deputy Life editor at Salon. She has contributed to the New York Times, the New York Observer and Rolling Stone, among other publications. For more of her work, visit and Signs and Wonders.

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