A Near-Perfect Match, an Hour from Home: Jackson and Louisa
By Allie O’Connor. Graphics by Kelsey Wang.
Even on smaller campuses, students come from far and wide. They run the physical gamut of home countries and states, as well as the less tangible ones of interests, hobbies, backgrounds, and values.
With the majority of Tufts students coming from out of state, it would make sense for there to be Marriage Pact matches between students as close as a few states away or as far as different coasts. However, your perfect match is sometimes someone a little closer to home. Tufts sophomores Jackson, a mechanical engineering major, and Louisa, a psychology and entrepreneurship student, have more than just proximity in common.
Before she took it, Louisa didn’t really know what the Marriage Pact was. She’d seen the occasional countdown-to-matches flyers.
Louisa: “My friends did convince me to fill it out, but yeah, I had no idea what to expect.”
Jackson: “I’d seen around campus that it was going on, and they had sent out emails that there was a survey you could take to be matched with someone…I knew the general idea, but I had no idea other schools did it — I just thought it was a Tufts thing. Some of my friends were doing it, some of them weren’t. I remember I was in my dorm after a class or something, and I was like, ‘I’m not doing anything right now.’ So I just decided to fill it out.”
With questionnaires filled out, the two and their respective friend groups waited to hear more.
Despite their similar pre-match questions, the night matches were released saw the then-freshman in very different situations — Louisa was at home, having opted for Tufts’ policy to leave campus and see her family for Thanksgiving and return after winter break. Her friends were talking in the group chat about their matches: one had matched with a senior currently in Brazil with a match quality percentile of around 20 percent.
As her friends shared names and percentiles, Louisa piped in with her match: a boy in her class with whom she shared a quality percentile of 99.98%.
Jackson was still on campus, nearing the end of his time in COVID isolation after coming into close contact with someone who’d tested positive. After over a week of living in a “glorified shoebox”, he’d all but forgotten about the questionnaire. That is, until he saw their match quality percentile, which felt too high to ignore.
Louisa reached out first with a quick “hey” through Instagram DMs, though her friends wanted her to try a more creative line (“So when’s the wedding?”). After talking some more, the two discovered that while Louisa was no longer on campus, the two only lived an hour away from each other.
They continued to talk through the end of November and for the better part of December. The first week of January, they both were home from school and met up for a first date at Good Harbor Beach (due in no small part to its title of “dog hotspot”).
Jackson and Louisa walked the shoreline, meeting different dogs and talking about school and their families, eventually sharing their mutual interest of stargazing. After getting pizza in town, they called it a day. Jackson recalled the date feeling comfortable, thankfully lacking any awkward silences that were too long or drawn out.
But beyond their stellar match quality percentile is a relationship that thrives on how similar they are below the surface.
Jackson: “I started realizing pretty early on, like, personality-wise, we were kind of similar, but it’s more at the core of who we are. We kind of enjoy niche activities — I wasn’t scared to admit that I like driving around on my own or doing little adventures or stuff like that. When she told me that she also liked to do that, to just take drives or look at the stars… That sounds very, like, stereotypical and cutesy, I know,”
Jackson said as he turned to Louisa to recount his first memories of her. Cue the awwws.
Jackson: “When you when you admitted that, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s something that we can bond over’. But then as we’ve gotten to know each other, I feel we’re very similar in terms of how we deal with stress, how we value family, how much we both love music… just very similar, below-the-surface things that ended up working… We’re at a point where we really understand each other.”
Louisa: “I think we have very similar morals as well. We have very similar things that are important to us. Like giving back — which Marriage Pact didn’t really cover so it was interesting to find that out. I also think that we have similar personalities, in that it’s really fun because we’re able to rely on each other and talk, but also get good, different perspectives on situations. Something I definitely value in our relationship is hearing his side which is usually more logical, and then my side is the more emotional side.“
In a time when students are more digitally connected than ever, it’s common to hear that people met their significant others online. And while Jackson’s family was receptive to the idea that an algorithm had paired him with Louisa, Louisa was a little more nervous to share how she and Jackson had met as her older sisters had met their partners through more traditional routes.
Jackson: “When I was telling people and explaining the situation, I would say ‘Marriage Pact’, and they’re like, ‘Hold on,’ — like the ‘marriage’ word was like a big thing for them. I said that to my parents, and they were like, ‘who is this girl?’ If we had just said we met on Tinder, people would have been like, ‘Oh, okay,’ there’s no elaboration to that. But for us, usually there’s elaboration, and I love telling people our match percentage. I love seeing the looks on their face. I think the funniest is when I’ve explained it to your family members…”
Louisa: “Yeah, like, ‘We got this statistic, and we went on a date…”
Jackson: “And it worked out!”
Louisa: “My parents and my family loved hearing Jackson’s side of the story, he told my entire extended family when he was with me over the summer.”
Jackson: “Yeah, I think people enjoy it. You know, you’ve got to explain it a little bit, but I think they think it’s cool in the end.”
Jackson has been readily accepted as part of Louisa’s family, spending time with them over the summer at a Red Sox game for her birthday and on a trip up to Maine. They also went skiing together over winter break and spent New Year’s Eve partaking in different family traditions and sharing resolutions for the new year.
Louisa: “I really admire how hardworking he is, and the devotion to our relationship in the sense of, like, whenever we have arguments or anything, we are both very dedicated to solving them and working through that together. We know in the end that all that matters is like whether we’re fighting for the relationship and what we like cherish in each other,”
Louisa turned to Jackson to explain.
Louisa: “I think that’s really important, and I think you’re spontaneous. I never really know what the next move is gonna be, whether it’s crazy dancing, or like you running, doing something stupid. It always brings me a lot of joy and makes me laugh, so I love that about our relationship. It’s always fun, and I never know what the next week will bring.”
Jackson: “Yeah, I would say the same about you. You’re very spontaneous and you’re not afraid to be goofy. I also like how you communicate a lot. I think that goes back to our relationship — I think communication is the cornerstone of what a good relationship is, and I think we both agree with that. You were so open and understanding — when there’s a problem, making sure that you’re heard and are bringing it up directly to me, as opposed to dancing around it.”
Got a Marriage Pact story of your own? Email us at hello ‘at’ marriagepact.com, or DM us on Twitter/Instagram, @marriagepact.
Allie is a writer for Marriage Pact. She can be reached at allie ‘at’ marriagepact.com.