On Sunday, famous Christian “mommy blogger” Glennon Doyle Melton — catapulted to fame through her writings on the messiness of marriage and motherhood — tied the knot with a woman. Although the union received considerable press coverage, few prominent outlets noted the effect this controversial decision would make on Melton’s three children.
After suffering from alcoholism and bulimia for much of her youth, Melton made the decision in 2002 to quit drinking, marry her unborn child’s father and turn her life around.
When she wrote a Facebook post highlighting her past, a flood of positive feedback encouraged her to take up writing full time. Her first essay — and the inspiration for her blog Momastery — was shared over four million times. By 2016, she was a mother of three, a New York Times bestseller and a coveted speaker with a following of millions.
But last year, on the brink of the release of her second book, Love Warrior – a chronicle of the story of prevailing through her husband’s infidelity – her life took a dramatic turn. Melton met and fell for former Olympian soccer player Abby Wambach.
In a move wildly counter to her brand and her faith, the blogger separated from her husband. Then, despite words of caution from close friends like Oprah, she went public with the news of her new-found love.
On May 14, she and Wambach married. Melton had never identified as lesbian, but had been a long-time supporter of gay marriage, noting in a 2013 blog post that if Jesus had “needed me to believe that homosexuality was a sin, He would have mentioned it.”
Now, she says: “My sexuality is Abby.”
Underneath a May 15 Instagram picture of Wambach wearing a “Christian Mommy Blogger’s Wife” sweatshirt, Melton wrote her followers: “My beloveds – please never give up on love. Life could surprise the hell out of you. Trust me – you might just wake up one morning and find yourself smack dab in the middle of heaven. I love my wife. LOVE WINS.”
Two days later, Melton took to Instagram to share the fear that gripped her before making the decision to date Wambach. But a friend advised her that God tries to teach us through joy before he teaches us through pain.
“For once,” Melton wrote, “I chose joy.”
As Melton professes to be a Christian, her elevation of personal fulfillment over her children’s stability is worrisome and unbiblical. And with a following of millions, it has the potential to lead many astray.
But most prominent media outlets focused on the new marriage, proffering few, if any, concerns about the children.
US Weekly writer Stephanie Webber cheered: “Congrats to the newlyweds!”
Although Huffington Post’s Ron Dicker did note that both Melton and Wambach had been previously married, he too avoided discussing the children.
ABC News writer Lesley Messer quoted the blogger’s comment about her “modern, beautiful” family. “Our children our loved … And because of all that love, they are brave,” Melton wrote in 2016.
“When Craig and I sat them down to tell them about Abby,” she continued, “I started by saying: 'In our family, we live and tell the truth about who we are no matter what, and then love each other through it – and I’m about to show you how that’s done.'"
People’s Alexia Fernandez had only good to report.
“[Melton] hoped that her coming out would help her three children, son Chase and daughters Tish and Amma, feel emboldened to be truthful with themselves and others,” Fernandez wrote.
In an Elle article titled “The Gospel According to Glennon,” Ruth Barrett detailed the whole story of “how Christian blogger Glennon Doyle Melton blew up life as she knew it and became the guru of the moment.”
Clearly, Barrett approved of Melton’s decision to leave her husband. After reading Love Warrior, the Elle writer commented that Melton’s memoir was “littered with signs that all was not as it seemed.”
Echoing the prevailing cultural view that life’s highest goal is personal self-fulfillment, Barrett noted that she almost wanted to “throw the book across the room” with the cry “Life’s too short, Glennon!”
Toward the end of the spread, Barrett did point out the criticism Melton has faced – that she is “sugarcoating divorce and its aftermath.” Barrett even quoted a divorced friend who opined that Melton’s decision seemed “reckless and irresponsible, because there are so many women following her like sheep.”
A couples therapist’s concerns were also cited. “She puts a knot in my stomach. I can’t count how many times I hear women quoting her when they come into my office,” Michele Weiner-Davis told Barrett. “Most people don’t do divorce all that well, especially when children are involved.”
“She’s strengthening [women’s] conviction they need to get away from their husbands, instead of learning to work through challenging issues,” Weiner-Davis continued. “Sometimes you have to be a warrior to stay.”
But according to friend and fellow New York Times bestseller Elizabeth Gilbert, Melton is the “next Gloria Steinem,” on her way to becoming “one of the most important female leaders in our culture.”
As an influential Christian advocating counter-scriptural behavior, that is a concerning prospect.