2009 was a significant turning point for my family. My husband and I had been married for three years and we had two little girls already. We’d just moved (again) for a work opportunity with my career, and while that was great for me, my husband was continuing to feel more and more like the ethics of those around him at his insurance job were seriously out of line with his own. This feeling had been building for a few years. In addition to the lack of ethical behavior surrounding him, the pressure to provide for a family of four on a 100% commission job was crushing especially after the economic decline the previous year. He coped with all the stress by eating. I’d find empty Snickers wrappers, Mt. Dew bottles, and hot dog wrappers across the backseat of his car. He was sluggish, grouchy, exhausted, and his health was declining rapidly. This was not the man I knew. My husband had loved to be on the go, loved to lift weights and loved life. The man I met and fell in love with long before we ever actually dated had slowly and quietly faded into a person who couldn’t stand himself.
My husband decided he needed to make a change and began “this new workout” called CrossFit. That’s when CrossFit Lincoln entered his life. I’d never heard of it. CrossFit sounded a little like a cult. I remember the first day he worked out there. He came home, literally crawled up the stairs and laid on the floor. Somehow he managed to make it over to the couch where he immediately fell asleep and didn’t move for the remainder of the day and night. He worked through tremendous pain but kept going back. Then he changed his diet. He cut out the “crap” and started following a Paleo diet basically eating anything natural like chicken, beef, eggs, veggies, almonds, etc. Nothing processed, nothing fried, no pop, rarely any beer. He was not wavering on this commitment. It felt like our world revolved around CrossFit and what he ate. There were days when that was the only thing he talked about. Sometimes, it drove me crazy, however I was starting to see a spark and a twinkle in his eye that had been missing for quite some time. In addition to having this new focus, he began talking about the people he met at CrossFit Lincoln. Many of them were firefighters and all were truly wonderful, encouraging people. The topic of being a firefighter had come up every few years with my husband. He would always mention that he would have loved to be a firefighter like it was an impossibility at this point in his life.
One day he came home and said what I’d been suspecting for a while, “I want to become a firefighter.” And that was that. He left his job, went back to school to get his EMT license and remained committed to CrossFit. It was a risk but it was an incredible opportunity for him to pursue something that made him believe in himself again. A year into his journey, he continued to be so excited and challenged at school, had dropped from 344lbs. to 260 lbs., his outlook and attitude had changed, and was evolving into the person he believed himself to be. I was beginning to recognize my husband again. But this was a new husband. He looked forward to life and was invigorated by the prospect of reaching personal goals that would allow him and our family to have a great future together.
I feel like I’ve had two husbands. The “Before” Husband and the “After” Husband. Both have loved me dearly and have worked very hard for our family. Both have remained unflappably committed to our relationship and marriage. My “Before” Husband didn’t believe in himself and wasn’t proud of what he’d accomplished. Quite honestly, he didn’t believe he’d make it very long in life. My “After” Husband continues to commit himself to health and fitness through CrossFit. He found a new home at CrossFit Archway in Kearney. He is rounding the corner on his second year of being a full-time firefighter with an incredible group of men and women in Grand Island. He believes in the opportunity for a long happy life ahead. My “After” Husband is the man I’ve loved and believed in all along, through the good times and the bad, and he now loves and believes in himself too.