In Peru there’s a trail you can hike from the city of Cusco to the Sacred City of Machu Picchu. Known as the Inca Trail, it’s often referred to as a legendary hike.
Early on in the hike, there’s a fork in the trail. If you go right, the city of Machu Picchu is only 6 hours of walking a path alongside a river. This way was actually the commercial route to the city. If you had goods to sell or deliver to the city you’d follow this path.
Every one else traveling to the city would take the fork to the left. This path was 26 miles long, it would take you four days to walk over four mountain passes. This trail doesn’t have switchbacks, instead there are stairs going straight up and down the mountains… about nine miles of stairs.
The reason visitors to the city were to take the long route was so they would value the city. It’s human nature that when we work hard to earn something, we value it more.
The trail takes you along some beautiful scenery. You climb up and over “Dead Woman’s Pass” which tops out over 13,800 feet. But on day four of your journey, if you awaken before sunrise you can hike to the Sun Gate and watch the sun rise over the ancient city. Then travel into the city and take in it’s beauty.
I once listened to a guy describe his journey on the trail and how it was one of the most difficult things he’s ever done. But he also described walking around in the city along with other tourist’s who’d traveled in by train, all of them seeing the same sights but having vastly different experiences than him due to their journey to the city.
The point is the journey.

Marriage is the same.
The goal of marriage is not to arrive some place – the goal is to journey together. The destination can be to wherever you decide, but the goal is to travel it together.
Sure it’s work, sure there are times when it seems that what lay ahead is nine miles of stairs, but when you travel the path, you appreciate and value the relationship all the more.
Conflict and struggle change you.
Conflict and struggle are transformative.
You become a better person when you travel down this path.
It’s what takes a marriage from good to great.
From routine to passionate.
From… you get the idea.

Photo courtesy Matito

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