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CMU alumnus’ life changes after becoming a father


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Zach and Jennifer Ribble pose with their two daughters, Zoe and Alexis

Zach Ribble had been suffering from significant anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for many years. 

“The constant struggle of getting out of bed and putting on a 'happy face' had slowly worn away at me,” he said. 

After Ribble stopped reading his Bible and turned his back on his faith, his wife, Jennifer, decided that she needed to speak up.

In his new book “Unchained: Spiritually Smart Ways to Eliminate Anxiety, Find Peace, and Live Free for God,” Ribble shares his struggle to turn his life around for his family after a conversation with Jennifer.

Jennifer had sat Ribble down and told him he had changed before her eyes. He was not the same man that she had married. They were not communicating or sharing time together, and their relationship seemed more like a chore. Jennifer realized that if she didn’t speak up, it would be too late to change. 

“Things were getting too heavy for me to bear alone and I needed my husband back,” she said. 

The conversation had been a wake-up call for Ribble, inspiring him to focus on what really matters in life.

For many years after Ribble graduated from Central Michigan University in 2008, he and his wife had been trying to have a baby. After Jennifer suffered a miscarriage in 2014, the situation seemed hopeless. 

Two days after Ribble's recommitment to his faith and family, Jennifer discovered she was pregnant. 

“I believed that was a sign that we were both ready to be parents, I’m so glad to be a dad and I’m so glad that I went through those struggles in life in order to be a good father,” Ribble said. “Every year when Father’s Day comes, it’s a reminder that we may go through suffering in life, but it’s worth it for family.”

Ribble’s transformation motivated him to write his story and share it with the world.

Just two days after its release on May 24, Ribble’s expectations were exceeded when the book reached “Amazon #1 Best Seller.”

“For me, my goal is to make a difference to as many people as possible, and this book is just the beginning,” Ribble said.

Ribble and his wife now live in Galesburg with their two daughters, 2-year-old Zoe and 1-year-old Alexis. Ribble’s favorite thing to do with his family is to spend time at the beach. 

This year for Father’s Day, Ribble said he plans to grill some burgers outside and enjoy a beautiful day, celebrating the publication of his book with his family.

“Zach is the best dad,” Jennifer said. “As soon as he became a dad, it has brought out the best in him and all the qualities that made me fall in love with him have been illuminated even more.”

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