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    August 25, 2017 6:49 AM CEST
    CH A P T E R EIGHT: Friendship, the highest relationship of all.

    The husband/wife relationship is the oldest and most preeminent of all human relationships. It predates and goes ahead of any other relationship, including parent/child, mother/daughter, father/son, and sister/brother.
    No relationship should be closer, more personal, or more intimate than that which exists between a husband and wife. Such intimacy involves not only love but also knowledge. A husband and wife should know each other better than they know anyone else in the world. They should know each other’s likes and dislikes, their quirks and pet peeves, their strengths and weaknesses, their good and bad qualities, their gifts and talents, their prejudices and blind spots, their graces and their character flaws. In short, a husband and wife should know everything about each other, even those undesirable traits that they hide from everyone else.

    This kind of knowledge is not automatic. It does not happen simply because two people get married. Relationship does not guarantee knowledge.
    One of the greatest problems in marriage or any other human relationship involves the labels we use. Words like “husband” and “wife,” “mother” and “daughter,” “sister” and “brother,” or “father” and “son” describe various relational connections within a family. They also imply a knowledge or intimacy that may or may not exist.
    Labels that imply closeness and intimate knowledge may in reality hinder true relationship building. A husband and wife may assume that they know each other simply because they are married. As a result, they may do nothing more than scratch the surface, never plumbing the depths of each other’s personalities to gain true knowledge and build a deep and intimate relationship. Marriage is a lifelong journey into intimacy, but also into friendship.

    1. A husband and wife should be each other’s best friend. There is no higher relationship.

    2. True friendship transcends and rises above even the ties of family relationships.

    3. Openness and transparency are marks of true friendship.

    4. Friends are open and honest with each other.

    5. Friendship between a husband and wife, with its characteristic honesty and openness, is absolutely essential for a happy, successful, and thriving marriage.

    6. Friendship is the catalyst that ultimately will fuse a husband and wife into one like a precious gem.