“Friendship in Between ‘Romance’ and Loneliness”: Wesley Hill

“Friendship in Between ‘Romance’ and Loneliness”: Wesley Hill May 30, 2013

blogs; did I post this already? It’s from a few months ago. Anyway I just re-read it and liked it a lot. Comments also worth reading!

Early on in Mark Vernon’s insightful book The Meaning of Friendship, there’s this throwaway observation: “In TV soaps, the characters always have their friends to return to when their sexual adventures fail; lovers come and go, but friends remain.” Reading that sentence, I think not only of old favorites like Seinfeld and Friends but of more recent sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother or Happy Endings: the string of the characters’ romantic attachments is forgettable; what keeps you watching these shows is the constancy of the (mostly twentysomething) friendships among the protagonists. Romance is fleeting; friendship is permanent.

But I often hear the opposite point of view when I speak with young Christians. What’s constant, they feel, is marriage. Because friendship is transitory and unfortified by vows of commitment, it’s far less reliable than the publicly honored marital bond. Your spouse will move with you when you take that new job across the country, but good luck staying in touch with your friends.


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