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Cupid's arrow pierces Internet

Adam Durbin and Amanda McClead both found themselves surfing the Internet, searching for true love on eHarmony.com in January 2006. Matched Jan. 15, little did they know they would be wed by year's end. To celebrate the Durbin union, eHarmony rec...

Adam Durbin and Amanda McClead both found themselves surfing the Internet, searching for true love on eHarmony.com in January 2006.

Matched Jan. 15, little did they know they would be wed by year's end.

To celebrate the Durbin union, eHarmony recently picked them for the success story of the year from North Dakota.

They were married in a small outdoor ceremony Aug. 5 at Ash Cave National Park in Logan, Ohio.

Dr. Neil Clark Warren, eHarmony founder, personally signed and sent a card of congratulations to the couple. They also received a crystal bowl from Tiffany and Co. from eHarmony.

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On an average day, more than 90 eHarmony members are married after being matched on the Web site, according to the global market research company Harris Interactive.

"I thank eHarmony. They make it so you talk about the things that are really important," Adam said. "We made each other laugh. There was an instant connection. I'm not a phone person, and we were on the phone for 2 hours the first time."

"We talked four to five hours every day, at least," Amanda said.

In the beginning

Amanda is happy about her decision to join eHarmony now, but she had to be pushed onto the Web site, despite her brother's success of meeting his wife on the site.

"I got talked into it. I had gone through a series of bad relationships and was really hesitant to the Internet dating scene. I said I'd do it when my mom paid for the first three months," Amanda said. "When I met Adam, I only had two weeks left."

"I had only been on the site for three weeks," Adam said. He was open to the Web site because of a hectic work schedule he balances with time with his 5-year-old daughter, Taylor.

"The bar scene didn't interest me at all," Adam said.

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Both Adam and Amanda describe some of their previous online matches as less than desirable.

"There were some scary people on there. But you are in complete control. If you don't want them to contact you again, or don't want to respond, that's up to you," she said.

"You remain completely anonymous through eHarmony," Adam said.

Family values

Amanda wasn't just concerned about herself when she took a leap of faith to meet someone on the Internet.

Her 3-year-old son, Brennen, was pictured with her on the photo she posted online.

Adam had concerns for his daughter, who was pictured with him on his profile.

"That said a lot to us about each other," Adam said. "Family is definitely a priority to both of us."

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Adam, formerly of the Cando, N.D., area, graduated from UND with a bachelor's degree in business management. Amanda graduated from Ohio Valley University, W.Va., with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.

Adam is a supervisor at SEI in Fargo, and Amanda currently is the owner and director of Love Bugs Learning Center Daycare in the couple's Grand Forks home.

"I'm expanding. Business has been great," Amanda said.

Amanda moved here because Adam didn't want to spoil his custody arrangement. And she said she likes it here.

"The people are very nice," she said. "It's a little funny to me that they call it a valley. Where I'm from, there are actual mountains and valleys."

Adam flew to Ohio with his daughter to meet Amanda and her family for the first time in February of last year.

Adam proposed to Amanda via the Internet before she flew to Grand Forks in March for a visit.

"I was on a break at work. I said yes," she said.

In May at a cookout in Ohio, Adam proposed a little differently. With her family gathered around, he presented Amanda with a journal detailing their courtship.

"The first page was our whole story. By the fifth page, all the pages were cut out to hide a ring," Amanda said.

When asked about their eHarmony experience, Adam and Amanda say they encourage it. They said the entire process was filled with purpose and meaningful conversations that allowed them to really get to know each other.

Above the couple's fireplace a vase of unity sand is displayed. Different colored sand is layered to signify their union. The layers represent their children and themselves as one big happy family.

Reach Nagel at (701) 780-1262, (800) 477-6572, ext. 262, or anagel@gfherald.com .

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