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Our View from "The Top Of The World"

Marriage Lessons from Mt. Whitney Hike

To give you a little back ground, in late July 2015, my brother commented he was going to hike Mt. Whitney (the tallest peak in the continental US) would we want to join him? So, we said sure, because that’s what you do when you’re us! So, with only 3 weeks to prepare, we set out on one amazing journey.

The Mount Whitney Trail is a trail that climbs Mount Whitney. It starts at Whitney Portal, 13 miles (21 km) west of the town of Lone Pine, California. The hike is about 22 mi (35 km) round trip, with an elevation gain of over 6,100 feet (1,860 m). The Mount Whitney summit is 14,508 feet (4422 m) making it the tallest peak in the continential United States.

My brother Kenny and Sam at Trail Crest.

Lessons for Marriage that we learned from Mt. Whitney

  • Don’t down play preparation. Whenever you set out on a relational journey, it is important to do some “pre” work. If you are dating, we recommend pre-marital coaching before you make the exciting and life-altering (in a good way) leap into marriage. If you are in this period of your relationship, we have a gift for you. Please e-mail me at and I will send you the “52 Questions to Ask Before Marriage” by the Gottman Institute.
  • Use your strengths and accept the influence of your partner. Each of us come into the relationship with individual strengths that are usually very different from our partner’s strengths. Accepting these and your partner’s influence in these areas encourages trust and lets your partner know that they matter to you in the relationship. Let’s face it, we ALL want to feel needed and wanted by the person we love most!
  • Accept each other’s pace and stick together. In life, one or the other of you will inevitably be walking at different speeds. It is important to stick together and allow for each other’s pace. It can be challenging to maintain emotional connection, however, sticking together “pays dividends.”
  • I don’t have to carry my partner’s struggle. We are not talking about abandoning your spouse in their distress. You are two individuals each with your own reality. It is important to support your partner, but you do not have to carry or assume the same emotional struggle. Honor and acknowledge your partner, but you don’t have to allow their bad day to become yours.
  • Don’t stop ~ perseverance. The summit experience that comes after a difficult journey is worth every agonizing, labor intensive, seemingly impossible step. Marriage research shows that “two-thirds of those unhappy marriages out there will become happy within five years if people stay married and do not get divorced.” (Tim Keller “The Meaning of Marriage”)
Mt. Whitney Summit!

Lessons from Mt. Whitney Recap Video