Each installment of The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.
This week she talks with four friends—two married couples—who met through their church in Washington, D.C., and bought a house together in 2018. One of the couples had a baby three months after they moved in. They discuss how they navigated everyone’s needs during the home-buying process, explain the logistics of their group mortgage, and share their philosophy on why life is better living in a community of friends—even after you’re married.
Bethany Fleming, 30, a curriculum specialist for Center City Public Charter Schools
TJ Fleming, 31, a client-services coordinator for a commercial-real-estate company
Luke Jackson, 36, a sales manager for a video-game company
Deborah Tepley, 41, the executive director of the Church of the Advent
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Julie Beck: What was the origin of the idea to buy a house together?
Deborah Tepley: I was raised in a very large family. I really love having a lot of people around. Luke was also raised in a big family, but for basically 10 years of his life, he lived alone as a bachelor. So I would always go, “Hey, we should live in a group house.” There are a lot of group houses in our church, of people who are renting together, both singles and married couples. I kept putting it out there, and he kept saying no.