20 years

It’s amazing how fast time passes. Today, is kind of like a day 20 years ago today. It’s kind of rainy, a little cool, and I am a very very happy girl today. 20 years ago today, I married Rod Koelker. 20 years ago today, I became Gena Koelker. 20 years ago today I started a journey with a man that has been the most amazing journey that I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of. Today, is my 20 year anniversary.

20 years sure sounds like a long time when you say it that way. I’m telling you one thing, it was a blink of an eye. I went from a scared young girl who had no idea what tomorrow held to a woman who still doesn’t know what tomorrow will hold but is confident that it will be amazing. Yesterday I was picking out my wedding dress, and the day before that I met my husband for the first time. 20 years goes by so very quickly. I chose to make a life with Rod. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

20 years ago I thought that I had to do it all myself. I thought that I had to be an independent woman or I was weak, I was so wrong. Sometimes strength comes from allowing others in. One day I realized, with the help of my very direct husband, that to be truly independent it was OK to be dependent sometimes. It was OK to lean on someone. It was OK to let someone else lead the way. I didn’t need to have all the answers all the time. And, I still don’t. He and I work together as a team and figure things out. Life has thrown us some curveballs, and we’ve just adjusted our swing and hit every one. If you had seen us then, we probably would have looked like the long shot, if you look at us now we might look like a pretty decent bet.

It hasn’t been easy. But it hasn’t been all hard either. When you get two people that decide to live together, and make a life together, and make a promise to one another that they will be there for the other person for the rest of that person’s life, you’re going to have conflicts. If people were too alike, then life sure would be boring. Sometimes we fight, and I get so angry with him sometimes, just like I know that there are times that he just wishes that I would just do what he wants me to do and shut up. I know that there are times that he thinks that I am off my rocker or I am the most unreasonable person in the world. But in the end, we figure it out. We make it work because we love each other. We are so much better together than we are apart. We both have chosen to put in the work, and the effort, to make a life together. I don’t want to say that we have a life that other people envy, I just want to say that we hope to set a good example for our children. I hope one day that all of my kids will be able to look up and say “hey, I’ve been married to this person for 20 years and I’m still happy that I made that choice.”

So now, I hope you will forgive me if I get a little sappy. I know he won’t ever read this, but there are a couple of things that I would like to say to my husband:

Rodney, I am so very thankful to have found you. I can’t imagine someone who is better suited to me than you are. When I need pushing, you’re there to shove me in the right direction. You’re also there when I need you to be exactly as I need you to be. You listen to me, and most of the time you actually make me feel like my opinion matters. I know I can be hard to live with, but I’ve been proud to be your wife for 20 years. If something ever happens to me, and you are left in this world without me, I hope that you know the love that I have for you will continue until you’re not here anymore either. Because that’s the thing, the love that I have for you, is eternal. It will never go away. No matter if I am here, or just echoes of me remain, my love is a constant thing. You are constantly in my heart, in my soul, on my mind, and I will love you for all eternity. The day that we walked down the aisle, the day that I held your hand and said I do was one of the best days of my life. It was the first step on this grand adventure that we’ve had. It hasn’t always been good, but it’s never been so horrible that there was no returning to the good path that we’ve had. The bad has never been so overwhelming that our love couldn’t conquer whatever was wrong. We have made so many memories together, in 20 years. we have squeezed a lifetime in two short decades. I can’t wait to see what the next 30 will bring. That’s right, I still want 50 years with you and more. I want a 50 year anniversary from you sir, and I’d like to dance at our party. So, since I don’t plan on going anywhere that means that you’re stuck with me for at least 30 more years. Well, I know it will be much longer than that! I love you Rodney, thank you for making me your wife. Thank you for loving me for over 20 years now. And thank you for planning a future that includes me in it. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Now, for everyone else, I hope that you have someone that fills your heart with every emotion that it can possibly hold. I hope your joy’s outweigh your sadnesses and I hope that you have someone that loves you like there’s no one else in the world. I hope that you have someone that you can look forward with and plan a future with. Hold onto them. Love isn’t given freely, not true love anyway. Not the kind of love that lasts forever, that kind of love takes time and work and it’s a constant work in progress. It evolves and changed but only grows stronger with each passing day. I hope each and every one Of you take the time and put in the work, because in the end the love that you get, the life that you live, the years that pass are all so much better if you take the time to do the work and share your life with someone that truly matters. I hope everyone has an amazing day today, and I’ll talk to you all again soon

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