A Twice-Blended Family
When Bill and I married, both for the third time, he had two adult children by his first wife and two adult children by his second wife and several grand-children. My adult son and I became part of what I call a "twice-blended family."
Note: More guest blogs of Christian divorce stories in relationship to the church are coming, but in the meantime, here's a little of what I've learned since my own divorce and remarriage. If you'd like to be a guest blogger, please see the information below this post.
A Real-Life Story Problem
I didn't realize that by marrying my mathematics teacher husband, I would be faced with a real-life story problem. Bill and I love to entertain, and greatly enjoy when our kids and grandkids come to visit. But our house is not the only choice they have for holiday gatherings.
Here's the problem: Bill's children are in their first marriages to spouses who did not come from blended families. That produces three places for each of these family units to be on Thanksgiving or Christmas or other special holiday. Since my son is not married and has no children or ex-in-laws, he has two options for those holidays. (I'm not going to include geographic locations in this equation, but that also has an impact.)
Our Solution - Thanksmas
Our solution was to create a new tradition we call "Thanksmas". As you might guess, our gathering is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The timing works for most everybody. Our kids appreciate not being put in a position of choosing between spending time with us or the other sets of parents. Our Thanksmas has proven a little more laid-back than the actual holidays. We’re all more relaxed, not having the pressure of measuring up to expectations of the “real” holidays.
During our first Thanksmas, I discovered that, within our mix, we have several variations in food preferences and traditions. Frankly, I was flummoxed when my husband’s children’s tastes didn’t match some of my cooking. For example, we differed over how gravy should be made, and which is best (or worst!), mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.
An Additional Solution
Since I highly value our family's time together, I came up with a solution that works for all of us and might work for you, too. Rather than serve food at the dining table, I put it out on the kitchen counter buffet style so diners can pick and choose as they please. Although I try to accommodate everyone’s taste to a degree, the kids are aware of my usual dishes and know I will not be insulted if they choose to bring a dish or two more to their liking. The more food, the better.
I advocate for healing of divorced people within the church by gathering stories of Christians who chose divorce because of abuse, and the response of their churches to that decision. (I'm interested in both helpful and hurtful experiences.) I also include those who have divorced because of their spouse's infidelity but have nevertheless been blamed by their church for the divorce.
If you’re interested in having your voice heard by contributing your divorce story in relationship to the church, please email me at LindaMKurthBlog@gmail.com for guidelines. I’ll be happy to help you share your story.
Know that I encourage respectful comments, keeping the blog a safe place to dialog about this subject.
Linda M. Kurth is a writer and a divorced and remarried Christian. In going through the divorce, she experienced a dichotomy of responses from the Christian community. After sharing some of those experiences in her upcoming memoir, God the Devil, and Divorce, she's heard many stories of divorced Christians who have struggled with the same issue. This blog invites divorced Christians to tell their stories with the goal of encouraging churches to resist condemnation and become a source of healing and grace.