Most of us know that there is some truth in the stereotype that men overvalue beauty and that women overvalue wealth in a potential mate. But if you marry someone more for these things than for friendship, you are not only setting yourself up for future failure – wealth may decrease and sexual appeal will decrease – but you are also setting yourself up for loneliness. For what Adam needed in the garden was not just a sexual partner but a companion, bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh.
If singles accepted this principle, it would drastically change the way people seek a marriage partner in our day. It is typical for a single person to walk into a room and see a number of people of the opposite sex and immediately being to screen them, not for companionship but for attractiveness. Let’s say three out of ten look appealing. The next step is to approach those three to see what rapport there may be. If one of them will agree to go out on a date, and you get romantically involved, perhaps you will see if you can turn that person into a friend as well. This problem is many of your best prospects for friendship were likely among those you ruled out because they were too tall or too short, too fat or too skinny.
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 – pages 125-126