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Heaven on Earth: Sunderland matchmaker nudges true love


Last modified: Friday, February 26, 2016
*Archive Article*
BERNARDSTON — Amy White wanted a match made in heaven, but heaven wasn’t moving fast enough, so she decided to nudge the universe and called on matchmaker Lanie Delphin for some earthly intervention.

It wasn’t until Delphin emailed her a list of potential “matches” that heaven made its move. It was a message from a man named Craig.

“I would go home every day for a month and I would read (Amy’s) biography and I’d see her little picture, and I’d go, ‘Nope, she ain’t gonna go out with me, I’m not gonna push the button,’” he said. “I’d ask God for help every day, I’d say, ‘Come on man, push the button, maybe she’s the one.’”

As it turns out, she was “the one,” and the two were married 11 months later, on Oct. 13, 2013.

Delphin has been running Mass Match, a personal dating service based in her home in Sunderland, for 14 years. She said she’s seen thousands of clients and has matched “loads and loads” of couples ranging in age from 20 to 80.

“I meet all my clients and I match them, so we’re very different from online dating in the sense that I meet everybody, I’m like an old-fashioned matchmaker,” Delphin said.

After clients sign up by mail or online, she meets with each in person to go over their backgrounds and stories and to discuss who they’re looking for. Then, she gives them a few more easy questions to answer and puts their profile together. Finally, she sends them a list of matches.

Sitting in Hillside Pizza in Bernardston — which Craig White, 54, co-owns — on a recent morning, Amy, 51, recalled how it all started. She said she decided to go to Mass Match after hearing about it from a member of her church, a man in his 60s who had lost his wife but knew he was happiest in a relationship.

“I just admired the fact that he was so honest and straightforward and pragmatic,” Amy said. “He knew what he wanted and he went out and he got it, and it kind of just made me realize, why am I not doing the same thing?”

So she went to see Delphin, received a list of about 10 matches, but said Craig was the only one she wanted to hear from. But because of her strong faith, Amy said she wanted to leave room for God in the process and decided not to manipulate anything on her own.

“I thought that the only way to do that was to wait and respond,” she said. “I just had to kind of let it be a little more directed.”

But in Craig’s biography, she said she saw certain values that were compatible with her own and could tell that he put his energy into all the right places.

“When I read Craig’s profile, I saw those key things — I saw dogs, plural, and I love dogs, I saw his values right there, he talked about having a local business where it was important to use quality, organic, locally-sourced ingredients and his company had sustainable business practices that are good for the environment,” she said. “I knew this was somebody I had to meet.”

Compatibility, according to Delphin, is the most essential of what she calls the “four Cs” that make for a good relationship — communication, chemistry, character and compatibility.

“The critical two Cs are character and compatibility,” she said. “If someone has good character and they’re compatible with them, they’re going to do fine for the rest of their lives.”

However, Delphin said she can’t really determine people’s character, since she only meets with them for an hour, and communication and chemistry are beyond her control.

“What I have to base (matches) on is the compatibility factor,” she said.

That, according to Delphin, includes values, politics, religion, interests, education, intellectual equivalency, age requirements and whether or not a person wants children, among other factors.

“I have to take that all into account,” she said. “Basically the more you have in common with someone in terms of your values, the easier it’s going to be.”

With the growing popularity of online dating — 11 percent of American adults and 38 percent of those who are currently “single and looking” for a partner have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps, according to the Pew Research Center — Amy said going to Delphin was a breath of fresh air.

“I served my time on EHarmony for three years,” Amy said. “It was horrible for me, absolutely horrible. I found it to have such a consumer mentality.”

She said the process, for her, was more about elimination than it was about actually trying to meet anyone — finding out who they are and what makes them tick.

“It’s just such a false atmosphere and it sets people up to have such a mentality of, I’m buying a product, I’m a consumer, and I’m going to wait for the best,” she said. “The other sites were even more superficial.”

Amy said what she liked about Mass Match was that it’s not numbers-driven or time-sensitive — it’s about each individual as a person.

“(Delphin) wants you to have success, this is her business,” Amy said. “She’s not a franchise, she’s not a massive corporation, she’s not a computer or a database.”

Delphin met her husband through a dating service and said she decided to start Mass Match to provide an affordable way for people to do the same.

“Over half the adult population is single for the first time in history and there are no ways for anybody to meet,” she said. “People may think they know everyone in the valley, but they don’t know everyone in the valley. People have their jobs, their families, their lives, and there are very few ways for people to meet, and meeting at work often is not the best.”

Amy echoed Delphin, saying, “I think there’s that old-fashioned expectation of oh, you just meet a nice person, you’re single, he’s single, and that’s all you have to have in common. And that’s not true.”

Today, Delphin has clients from throughout western Massachusetts as well as in parts of New York, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire.

In addition to matching happy couples, another thing Delphin said she loves about her job is the educational component.

“When I meet people, we go over not just their backgrounds and their stories and who they’re looking for, but I give them lots of the tips that I think I’ve learned over the years for what makes for a healthy relationship and how they should proceed in dating,” she said.

That advice includes slowing down — it takes longer to get out of a relationship than it takes to get into one, according to Delphin — staying positive during first meetings, giving everyone three to five dates (unless they make one of the big “dating boo-boos”), and placing precedence on personality over someone’s height, weight, or other physical characteristics.

After going through the process with Delphin, Amy also had some wisdom to impart on those who are looking for a relationship.

“I would just want to encourage people to know who they are, be honest with themselves and be honest with somebody else, rather than feeling like you have to make yourself into that saleable product,” she said.

And with Valentine’s Day coming up, Delphin wants people to know that paying attention to the holiday is a mistake.

“Don’t get sucked into the false romanticism,” she said.

For more information about Mass Match or to sign up, visit: massmatch.com or call 413-665-3218.

You can reach Aviva Luttrell at:

aluttrell@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 268

On Twitter follow: @AvivaLuttrell