In June of 2014, I stood in a field in New Hampshire with the sun at my back and made a promise to love a beautiful woman till death do us part. It was an amazing day full of love and dancing and drinking with friends and family.
Standing under the hot summer sun, I did not give my wife a list of promises for our future. I could have made a bunch of promises, but we all know how easily promises are broken. Instead, I told her “truths” for what we would be facing together.
The truth is, when I get sick I will turn into a giant baby who can’t do anything by himself.
The truth is, as trivial as it may sound, the greatest pleasure is having your hand in mine.
The truth is, for the rest of our lives we will fight. A lot. Both of us always want to be right and have the last word. I am sure there will come a fight where for days we are silent or one storms out and leaves.
The truth is, at some point we will struggle with juggling our own individual dreams and goals. We will struggle with finding time to further our careers and our relationship and bond.
The truth is, we have a lot of work to do. It won’t be easy. It will be a struggle, but I won’t give up and neither will you. So anything that comes our way should be ready for a fight.
Deep down, I am a hopeless romantic who wants to believe in squishy love and fairy tales and unicorns that fart rainbows of Skittles, but they don’t exist.
Marriage is a huge commitment and in my opinion, has one of the largest learning curves for anything, ever. I am aware that some days it will suck. Some days we will both want to pull a Zach Morris and call a “Time Out” and not have to deal with the other. But, those days when we click, when it feels like we are riding that skittle farting unicorn…that is when you think “this is the best decision I ever made.”
Choosing a lifestyle that includes exercise and good nutrition is a similar commitment. A commitment that many fear more than marriage, sky diving, or swimming in a cage staring down a Great White. Each year, millions of people make promises to themselves to “eat healthier,” “workout more,” “lose weight” etc. By the time March Madness arrives, so many have already given up and either canceled gym memberships or joke about how they will start back after St Patty’s Day for beach season. Thousands of people buy into the marketing promises of quick weight loss and “six-week” six packs, but those are only prepackaged broken promises.
Truth is, when you commit to an active health-conscious lifestyle, it will be full of successes and failures. For a while, you will hit PR (personal record) after PR. You will passionately stick to your diet counting every macro or calorie. On the weekends, you will limit yourself to one or two drinks, and you may even see lots of weight dropping off the scale!
But guess what?
You will have bad days or, hopefully not, a week where you go off the rails. No records will be set. No weight seems to come off. You blow your macros one day, maybe two, or perhaps you have a crazy college reunion weekend with some friends and binge like you were a 21-year-old all over again.
You know what you do then?
The same thing you do with your wife/husband, you apologize and forgive yourself for your mistake(s) and remember that commitment you made.
For just a moment, think about WHY you made this commitment to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Then take action and tell yourself “you know what, I screwed up but this is worth it in every way, and I am going to bust my butt and learn from my mistake(s)”.
Make exercise and nutrition your partner. Something that you work with and work at every day of your life. Do not look at it as a “ball-and-chain” because it should never hold you back. It should be there to give you strength and confidence so that you can tackle any obstacle in life.
It is a daily process. It’s a long road. There is no instant “Best Husband” award. There is no “instant fat loss” or “instant get ripped” pill. Acknowledge that you will screw up, a lot. Some days I will look like a Saint to my wife or a master of health and diet to friends/colleagues. Other days I will be the biggest pain in the ass, or I will totally just throw my diet or training out the window. Did someone say new Taco Bell breakfast items?
Fitness and a marriage are journeys on lengthy, often times challenging roads. It will not always be full of happiness and successes. There will be failures and disappointments, too many to count if truth be told. When those times come, when you feel like giving up, remember “why” you made this commitment. It is through the process, the grind, where we learn the most about ourselves and where we grow stronger and smarter in fitness or our relationships.
When that feeling of failure creeps in, remind yourself this: tomorrow is a new day, fresh with no mistakes.