"What Adam needed in the garden was not just a sexual partner but a companion, bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh. We think of a prospective spouse as primarily a lover (or a provider), and if he or she can be a friend on top of that, well isn't that nice! We should be going at it the other way round. Screen first for friendship. Look for someone who understands you better than you do yourself, who makes you a better person just by being around them. And then explore whether that friendship could become a romance and a marriage" (Tim Keller, "Meaning of Marriage," 125-126). This is why it is so very important to teach your children how to be value good friends. I would not recommend instructing your eight-year-old in the ways of romance. That could get rather dicey. But you can teach them at any age about friendship. The world wants people, including Christians, to see romance as the foundation of marriage. Christians must become transformed in their thinking, so that they see friendship is the foundation. Romance is volatile by nature. The fact that romance tends to run hot then cold, and then hot again, is one of the worldly attractions of romance. This may be a great attraction for movies and the social elite scene, but for marriage, not so much! Friendship that flows from romance will be as up and down as romance and romantic feelings tend to be. This is not solid ground for marriage.
[Read the rest of the article at Shepherd Press.]