Sustaining Friendships


"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that gives

value to survival."

-C. S. Lewis

You've seen it happen-relationships that last through difficult times. What kept these relationships strong?

It seems counter-intuitive in our culture for people to stay together, whether in marriage or friendship. But in Chapter Four, you gained tools to resolve conflict and create closeness. Now you and I need tools that keep friends and family close ... and add value to survival.

Sustaining friendships has been hard for me. Before I was twenty-five, I had lived in nineteen places. It's difficult to keep any relationship going when you move all the time. But I did learn the enduring value of commitment.

Genuine friendships depend on robust commitment-the willingness to sacrifice one's own desires to attain a greater good. Thomas Bradbury, psychologist at the UCLA Relationship Center, describes why commitment is necessary:

When the stakes are high, our relationships are vulnerable. When we're

under a great deal of stress or when there is a high-stakes decision on

which you disagree, those are defining moments in a relationship.

What our data indicate is that committing to the relationship rather