Seminary/School of Divinity


Spring 2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.)

Type of Paper/Work



Mary Hayden Lemmons


The question that drives this essay is whether friendship is necessary for the spousal relationship, or if romantic passion alone is sufficient. It is divided into three sections. The first examines why relationships based upon romantic passion alone cannot sustain the spousal relationship. Since spousal relationships based upon romantic passion alone tend toward the disintegration of the relationship and the reduction of the other person to mere means alone (and not as an end in himself), it becomes clear that some other kind of relationship is needed. The second section of the essay explores the nature of friendship and argues that it is the proper context for a flourishing marital relationship. Friendship is necessary for marriage, among other reasons, as the love of benevolence is the only kind of love by which persons can be loved according to their dignity. Spousal friendship prevents the harms raised in the first section of this essay and facilitates the context for the expression of betrothed love. The third section of the essay explores how friendship with God helps to sustain spousal friendship.

This essay relies largely upon the writings of Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John Paul II, and numerous others. Rooted largely within the Catholic theological and sacramental tradition, this essay rests upon a way of a deeply personalistic anthropology that has matured over several centuries’ worth of collective data of human experience. Human creatures are made by God and are ordered to Him—they are made by love for love—and the human heart will ever remain restless until it finds itself in a total gift of self to the Lord.


This thesis essay was composed as part of the requirements for the MAT program at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.