Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I mentioned my thoughts last week about how our family is less than ideal. It's not bad. But never does a woman get married thinking, "Well, I'll be married for about eight years, then I'll get divorced and then I'll remarry to a nice man and we'll have a great big happy blended family, and that will be so much better than if I were to just get married and stay married to the father of my children for eternity!"

No, no, I'm pretty sure we don't think that way. In fact, from a young age, as Latter Day Saint children, we are taught that "The family is ordained of God." and "Children are entitled to... be reared by a father and mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity." There is no mention in The Family: A Proclamation to the World of divorce, step parents, or blended families. Other than the admonition to "honor marital vows with complete fidelity" (which would imply not getting divorced) there is no talk of divorce to be found.

So, if I know what the ideal is, and I was striving for that ideal my entire life, and I am committed to that ideal, how to I reconcile my less-than-ideal circumstance with the prophet-directed ideal?

Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk last October came at exactly the right time. My divorce was almost final, and I was feeling very brokenhearted about the idea of my "ideal" situation dissolving. I couldn't deny the truth of his statement that, "There is no better setting for rearing the rising generation than the traditional family, where a father and a mother work in harmony to provide for, teach, and nurture their children." But I am glad that he did not stop there. His words were a soothing balm to my aching newly-single-mother heart, "Where this ideal does not exist, people strive to duplicate its benefits as best they can in their particular circumstances."

And that, my friends, is where we are today.

Although our children are not being reared by a biological father and mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity, they are being reared by a step mom and a step dad who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. And we focus on the next part of The Proclamation,
Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
I am convinced that the benefits can be duplicated if we focus on these things.

In our blended family and home, we try to be unrelenting about family scripture study and family prayer. We try to teach our children repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, and hard work. As much as possible, we try to duplicate the benefits of the best setting for rearing the rising generation.

I guess we won't know how successful we were until our children are gone, but I have faith that Heavenly Father will guide us as we try to do our best. And, as Elder Ballard said last October, "It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord’s errand."

How do you try to duplicate the benefits of the ideal situation in your less-than-ideal situation? We all have something less-than-ideal about our lives. What is your fix?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Less Than Ideal

It's Friday night, which is a pretty lonely night for me these days. Our kids all go with their other parent on Friday nights, and my husband works until 11, so it's just me, writing about our mixed up life.

I haven't had a lot of time to read or write - and I have felt like I haven't had very many interesting things to say.

But I am active on a Facebook group of LDS women who elicit tidbits from me every now and then when I have a minute to check in on what they are chatting about. I love those ladies - they keep me grounded in my faith, they remind me of the important things in life, and they help me keep my covenants. They are women from all over the world, from all walks of life, with one thing in common - they are faithful covenant keepers.

We've had a lot of conversations lately, and one of them in particular has been about the attack on family in society today. The attack comes in several different ways, and I don't want to debate about feminism, women in the church, same sex marriage, or any other hot topic. I want to talk about blended families.

I am a staunch advocate of traditional marriage - one man, one woman, raising their children together. We can get all sorts of specific with the types of families that don't fit this mold, but I want to get specific with only one...

Lately I have been mulling over the idea of our blended family. My children have two "fathers" now - their biological father, and their step father. Both fathers are very real fathers to them, and fill very important roles for my children. Similarly, my step children have two "mothers" now - their biological mother, and me - both also very important and very real to them, fulfilling much needed roles in their lives.

So it got me to thinking... how is my children have two "moms" and two "dads" different from a child being raised in a same-sex relationship by two moms, or two dads? This is an earnest question, and deep down I know that a mom and a step dad raising kids together is different than a dad and a step dad raising kids together, but the question is still rattling around in my brain - far from being satisfactorily answered.

And honestly, I have more questions than answers. Which is not unusual for me.

I read this article today about another type of blended family popping up around the world - the family where the step dad is married to the biological dad, rather than the biological mom. It is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever read.

The thing is, divorce is heartbreaking for me. Remarriage is heartbreaking for me. Sure there are fantastic things about my life now - but in the back of my mind there is always that nagging reminder that we are not in an "ideal" family situation.  Which is why I keep thinking about less-than-ideal family situations, and what differentiates them from one another.

What are your thoughts?