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!