Work & Love Go Hand in Hand

Work & Love Go Hand in Hand

Sometimes, two people on two very different paths merge. For Wes Olson, his path had been clearly defined. He was a divorced, work-driven real estate agent on a five-year plan to grow his business. His carefully cultivated career swirled around being involved in the community he served and building a successful real estate agency. He laid many carefully planned rules for his life, and one of them was—he did not date local ladies.

Ginamarie was just getting her legs under her after losing her husband of 32 years to a heart attack. Eight young women looked up to her for guidance and stability through it all, as they had when she was a stay-at-home mom and tutoring them through their homeschool years. Ginamarie had built a business that hosted scrapbooking retreats, and upon losing her husband, got a job working at Campos Vineyards. She felt both blessed and excited to be a host there and was quickly promoted to a position as a corporate event director. It was in that capacity that she ran into an old acquaintance.

Long ago, while Ginamarie was pregnant with her seventh daughter, Wes had encountered the vivacious beauty. Gina Marie’s then husband had actually worked alongside Wes in a real estate office during that time. One day when she went to visit, Wes had jokingly applauded his coworker for expanding his family yet again. That was the only interaction the two had, until one day when Wes went into Campos to plan a Rotary event, as he was active president. As he walked onto the vineyard, Gina Marie immediately thought to herself, “That’s the guy!” Ginamarie had been a widow for over a year and something about Wes struck her hard that day. Says Ginamarie, “For me, it was like a scene out of Baywatch. It was slow motion as he walked toward me. I immediately went home and looked him up on Facebook and saw he was single. My best friend Melanie Akey used to work with him, and I reached out to her for some background info. The first thing she said to me was, ‘He doesn’t date local.’” 

Undaunted, Ginamarie then called her other friend Angie Harper for help, as she too knew Wes. She asked her how her matchmaking skills were, and Angie said, “Pretty good.” Angie met up with Wes for coffee and mentioned Ginamarie to him, to which he replied, “Do you mean the lady with eight daughters!?” He again reiterated that he doesn’t date local.

The day of the event arrived, and Ginamarie went into full court press, batting her eyelashes and very obviously flirting with Wes. Being the consummate businessman, he was in no way responding. Wes prided himself on his reputation in the community. It’s why he didn’t date local. Ginamarie respected him very much and knew that she wanted to get to know him better but decided that maybe this would only be a friendship because they just weren’t vibing.

Podcasts were becoming a popular form of media, and Ginamarie had decided to dedicate some time to helping other women who were going through a transformation like she had. She started podcasts that were uplifting and informative with a lean toward life coaching. Wes was a big fan, and the podcasts kept her on his mind. In September 2019, he called Gina Marie to ask her for a favor. There was a charity event being held at Campos, and Wes was bringing his friend as part of his birthday celebration. It was a joint celebration since it was Wes’s birthday also! He asked Gina Marie if she could make the event special for his friend. She indeed pulled out all the stops to make sure his friend was treated as a VIP, even putting name toppers at the table to designate the group’s special seating. Wes has since forgiven her for spelling his name wrong. 

Running around that night, he finally took notice of the beauty and thought to himself, “She’s looking rather cute.” Ginamarie wanted to enliven the night and find a way to get to know Wes a little better, so she cleverly invited him to play a game of Never Have I Ever. The after party was at another location, and Wes asked Ginamarie if she would like to accompany them. At the after party, the two entered holding hands, shocking all of Wes’s friends who knew he lived by a code of not dating within his city limits. Wes asked Ginamarie if this could be considered their first date.

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Their whirlwind love affair rose from there. Wes laid the groundwork early on that he had a five-year plan, and he was committed to working toward it. He had been divorced years prior, and his main focus now was his real estate business. Ginamarie’s reply to him was one that helped seal the deal. She said, “What if the right woman can get you to your five-year goals, in three years?” After the COVID-19 shutdowns, Ginamarie lost her job at Campos and Wes hired her on as a personal relations and marketing director.

Eight months into their relationship, Ginamarie’s girls were ready to meet Wes. He had great respect for their space and didn’t want to try to take their father’s place. He let them know that he was there for them in whatever capacity they should need, but that he had no expectations of them. Each of their relationships have all developed organically and separately over time. Living arrangements eventually became an issue for Ginamarie, and she was having a hard time finding suitable housing. Wes decided to buy a sprawling house he came upon off market, with the large family in mind. He brought Ginamarie over to the house under the guise that they were to film it for a real estate promotion. He unveiled to her that he bought the house as he filmed her reaction. His next declaration was that it was for her and the girls as well. She was jubilant and couldn’t believe the romantic and loving gesture. The girls’ reaction to the news would be a very different story.

The Cornelius girls had been raised in a very Christian home. They were taught that the Bible states they should remain virgins until marriage, and the girls reminded their mother that being widowed did not change those rules. For two and a half hours, Wes listened to the girls’ concerns and heard their hearts. He knew that they felt strongly about their mother simply moving in with him, without being married. He knew he had to make this right, for the sake of Ginamarie’s relationship with her girls. Wes called up his stager and asked her to create a very special setting. Outside the home he had bought for his new family, a picnic was set up in the back yard, and little gift boxes for the younger girls who would be living there were laid out. On June 5, 2021, with a drone flying overhead, the girls opened the boxes and stared upon diamond cross pendants that Wes had bought for them. Ginamarie jokingly said, “Maybe he’s proposing to you?” as the girls unwrapped their jewelry. Wes turned to Ginamarie and said, “Actually, I’m proposing to all of you.”

“Wes turned to Ginamarie and said, ‘Actually, I’m proposing to all of you.’ ”

“Faith, trust, and a vision, coupled with unconditional understanding meld into something that is very special.” 

A culmination of their love took place in that very same back yard on September 18, 2021. Their wedding was exactly the party they wanted. They wanted everyone they knew in attendance, and they wanted their vows to be everything the other wanted from this marriage. They locked in their wishes for their future and have since created strategies to keep those promises. 

Says Wes, “We have put mechanisms into place to help us succeed. We are aligned so deeply and so well that we just want to be able to enjoy each other without any conflict. On my mirror, I have a code of conduct for myself and for the way I conduct business. It’s my checkpoint, if I feel I need a reminder, I look to it to get back on course. Ginamarie asked me if we could create one for our marriage. I think it’s a beautiful idea! 

One of those codes is we do not do anything away from each other that we wouldn’t do in front of each other. We honor Wednesday as our date night; we set boundaries to keep that our special shared time. We go to the gym three times a week together, it’s another thing we do that gives us power as a united couple. An important tool we use to keep things clear in our relationship is the Sunday morning relationship review. We talk about things that may be bothering us. It’s a check-in to make sure we aren’t developing spite. We both know that the key to not growing apart is communication.”

In fact, these two alpha personalities are very different at their core. For Wes, peace of mind comes with everything being in order. While Ginamarie is a creative who finds keeping things in place challenging. Their compromise is two separate offices and two separate bathrooms. Having this room for growth separately, allows for growth together. Wes claims that his five-year plan has now accelerated so much further with the two of them working toward it together. Ginamarie says, “My word for 2022 is ‘proficient.’ We support each other through whatever it is we are trying to achieve, and we aim for progress, not perfection.”

Inspired by the success of working together and growing a successful marriage the second time around, the Olsens have decided to share their wisdom with the world. When a friend recently gifted Wes with a stay at their place in Maui, Wes and Ginamarie took the getaway opportunity as a perfect chance to write a book! They did it in three days in the glorious setting of Maui. 

Everything they have been through and addressed is in the book. Blended families, trauma triggers, all the challenges that come with modern day marriages and more is thoughtfully and skillfully navigated through their writing. They even hope to lead relationship retreats in the near future. 

They are considering the title “What’s the Play?” as a nod to a lesson Wes learned recently. During an argument, Wes asked Ginamarie what she thought his reaction should be. When she clearly defined for him what she expected, it made sense and diffused the situation at once. That is an approach they think can benefit many.

Faith, trust, and a vision, coupled with unconditional understanding meld into something that is very special. Wes says, “I’ve never stayed in a home for very long, but our house has now become our foundation. Our best moments have happened there, and we are in close proximity to Ginamarie’s other girls who live nearby. We’ve created such a great life there and now a force that’s driving the business forward, it’s proof that there’s nothing we can’t do—hand in hand.

#whatstheplay

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