It's been said that the friendships we make in our youth are the only ones that endure.
If this were true, it would be terribly sad, because in our hyperactively mobile society, we'll rarely see the friends of our youth once high school's over.
Well, there's always Facebook.
One of the factors that lead to that conclusion is that in later life, marriage really requires corporate friendships - at least to some degree. Yes, wives and husbands have their 'own' friends, but if the other spouse heartily loathes said friend, there's trouble ahead.
That kind of friendship becomes a wedge aimed at the heart of the marriage.
The corporate friendship, in which two couples become friends and spend time together socially, can be one of the best investments of time and emotion that you and your mate can make.
The starting point for this kind of friendship is the realization that you and your spouse, together, have a 'group identity'. If this sounds baffling, think of it like this -
Does a sports team have a 'character'? Are not the Oakland Raiders considered the Outlaws of pro football? (OK, maybe not the best example.)
How about figure skating pairs - can you see the way the skaters move together as being an extension and an enhancement of their individual styles?
It's the same thing with your marriage. You have a style, a way of expressing yourselves together.
And you can learn from the example of another couple - together.
The friends you make as a couple hold up both a mirror and a window to your own relationship. A mirror to see how you might be 'styling' together, and a window to see where you might go - together.
And it's fun. It's fun to see interaction that might be so similar to yours, and so different. It's fun to share inside jokes that a 'single' friend can never understand.
It's fun to be there for another couple, when life throws a curve in the form of a blown-down fence or a wrecked car or a sick child - knowing that they'll be there for you.
It's fun to be friends.
(It would be remiss to leave without the caution that spending 'alone time' with the partner to whom you aren't married is a really, really bad idea. For this sort of relationship to thrive, it has to be completely transparent, and every aspect has to be, like Caesar's wife, above suspicion.)