…Once we saved up enough money to buy a house of our own in Washington, DC’s Petworth neighborhood, we deliberately chose a place in which we would always have room for housemates, even if we had kids in the future. As soon as we closed on our house, our first purchase was a long dining room table that could accommodate our group dinners.
For us, living in a group house was not a phase to grow out of but a lifestyle choice that valued people over privacy. Sure, we lose certain freedoms — we can’t walk around the kitchen naked, for instance — but what we get in return is many lighthearted conversations, laughter, and an opportunity to get to know people on a deep level. As Roberts wrote in his essay, “The key ingredient for the formation of friendships is repeated spontaneous contact.” In a city where we have to plan coffee dates with people two weeks in advance, a group house can readily foster spontaneity.
In addition, I think these living arrangements enhance rather than detract from our marriage. Living with others, we don’t put pressure on each other to be our only conversation partner. Without that burden, we are free to enjoy each other’s company rather than depending on it to satisfy all of our social needs.