You’ve met the four couples of this year’s “Will You Marry Me?” competition. You’ve watched him propose, you’ve seen her accept. You’ve voted time and again (did you know you can cast a vote every 24 hours? did you know by simply voting you are eligible to win a four-night stay in Maui?) for your favorite, each click bringing that couple closer to winning a dream wedding. You’ve seen their photo galleries, you’ve read their weekly blogs, you’ve heard why you think they should win. Now, let’s get real: This is all about the ladies! Check out our interview with Genine Thomas, fiancee of Andre Roache. ESSENCE.com: What was your first impression of your fiance? GENINE THOMAS: When I met Andre I thought he was a sweet guy, but to be honest I thought he was too young for me. ESSENCE.com: How and when did you know he was the one? THOMAS: I knew Andre was the one after my mother passed. The way he supported me with everything, it felt like he was my husband already. ESSENCE.com: Was this the right moment in your life to make this commitment of getting engaged? THOMAS: To make this commitment right, now is the perfect time because Andre and I are going on four years in our relationship. Time waits for no one, but it is a good process of getting to know one another. ESSENCE.com: Were you actually surprised by the proposal? THOMAS: To be honest, I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when. So yes, I was very surprised. I actually thought Andre was going to propose on my birthday which is coming up next month. ESSENCE.com: Were you impressed by the effort he went through to get you two into this year’s Will You Marry Me contest? Does that earn him bonus points? THOMAS: Impressed is an understatement based on how I felt, but yes I was very surprised. My head is still spinning in the clouds and yes his points did double. ESSENCE.com: What does marriage mean to you? THOMAS: Marriage means everything to me. Once you say “I do” to a person, you are exchanging your vows before God. Marriage is a lifelong journey of commitment, and all possibilities that may come. Once we become as one the future is in our hands. ESSENCE.com: What do you think are the most important elements to a successful marriage? THOMAS: Marriage is commitment, communication, along with understanding and loyalty. It is a job that you cannot quit on or go on vacation. You need trust and honesty. Both people have to rely on one another. Marriage needs to be 50-50, not 60-40 or 70-30. ESSENCE.com: Describe the thoughts that ran through your head as he actually said the words, “Will You Marry Me?” THOMAS: I could not say a word, because I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that it was finally happening. NOW VOTE!
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