“The friendship between man and wife,” wrote Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, “seems inherently in us by nature. For man is by nature more inclined to live in couples than to live as a social and political being.”
The essential point he is making here, which is in danger of being lost in the modern world, is that marriage is fundamentally natural rather than political. In his Politics, Aristotle reinforces this statement when he states that “man is an animal more inclined by nature to connubial than political society.”
Aristotle was a meticulous student of nature. And as a philosopher, he knew how to place things in their proper order. He understood, therefore, that marriage ”” with its personal satisfactions, its intimacy, its security and its potential for generating offspring ”” is naturally superior to the more tenuous and far less personal relationships that are political and social. For much of the same reasons, Aquinas could state that the best of all friendships is that between a loving husband and wife.