Every married couple faces an Everest – a mountain-sized struggle that can only be overcome by scaling the problem together. In Captain Harold and Rachel Earls’ case, the Everest was literal.
Harold was a cadet at West Point when he wrote his bucket list. The top two dreams were “get married” and “climb Mount Everest.”
In 2016, those dreams collided when Harold told his new bride of only a few months that he planned to travel to the other side of the world and climb the tallest – and most dangerous – mountain on earth.
Rachel was concerned and fearful. She and Harold had recently discovered they were pregnant. What if she miscarried while he was gone? What if he died on the mountain? Was she prepared to be a single parent?
After much prayer, Rachel chose to live by faith instead of fear. She knew she hadn’t married a blank slate. Harold had always dreamed big, and he always would. In addition, her view of marriage was that whatever race life set before them they would run together and support each other as teammates. And so, Harold’s dream became her dream.
Harold’s goal for the expedition was noble. His mission was to shed light on the stigma soldiers with PTSD face and to create opportunities for veterans to transition back to civilian life through challenging expeditions that inspire camaraderie and purpose.
Summiting Mount Everest was transformational for Harold as well. He faced sickness, dangerous storms, and a near-death experience – clinging to safety against a 70-mile per hour wind while stuck on a patch of ice the size of a surfboard atop a 7,500-foot cliff.
Surviving such incredible adversity clarified Harold’s new role in marriage. He returned home recognizing that his wife had has dreams as well, and that he needed to support her as she had supported him, serving as her teammate, and making her dreams his dreams.
Together Harold and Rachel have learned that healthy marriages work on love every single day, which has deepened their faith, strengthened their commitment to each other, and sharpened their vision to make a difference in the world.
You won’t want to miss Harold and Rachel sharing their story on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Mount Everest and Marriage: Braving New Heights Together.” Hear it on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or on our free phone app. They’ll inspire you to fulfill your God-given dreams as a team with your spouse.
Harold and Rachel are authors of the book A Higher Calling: Pursuing Love, Faith, and Mount Everest for a Greater Purpose, which is available from Focus for a gift of any amount. For more information, call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) or visit our website.
While you’re online, why not take a few moments to try our free Marriage Assessment online tool? It will help you quickly determine what’s working well in your relationship and identify areas where you may need some improvement.
Captain Harold Earls is an active duty Army officer who most recently served as the Commander of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Rachel is the host of the popular vlog called The Earls Family.