Watoto Church on Friday hosted Bob and Audrey Meisner, best-selling Canadian authors, and Founders of ‘Love Married Life’, where they specialize in helping marriages build and maintain phenomenal love.
As the couple cheerfully addressed the congregation, it was evident that their message of hope to married and single Christians was authenticated by their own story of God rescuing their marriage.
On the surface, Bob and Audrey Meisner’s marriage appeared fine a few years ago . But when infidelity hit—along with an unexpected pregnancy—they faced a trial few relationships survive.
“Crisis hit our marriage, and it is something we least expected in our relationship. That is why we are so passionate about helping others,” Audrey said, moments after being ushered forth by Pastor Gary and Marilyn skinner.
Bob and Audrey Meisner shared last year at the same church that what seemed like the end for their marriage turned out to be a new beginning for the couple who now travel the globe sharing their powerful testimony of love, failure, forgiveness and redemption at churches and marriage conferences.
“The whole story is not about adultery, it’s about the gospel—that Jesus paid the price for my shame, and I don’t have to carry it,” says Audrey.
At the time of the affair, Bob and Audrey were busy raising a new family, working on a daily TV show and serving as pastors of a young church in Winnipeg. Outwardly they had the look of success, but inwardly the hectic schedule, especially the church responsibilities, were taking a toll on Audrey.
Audrey developed a friendship with a male member of the church who needed help. The friendship, though innocent at the start, began evolving into something more when the young man started to flirt.
Audrey didn’t think anything of it because, she says, “I felt like I was in control.” Before she realized it she became hooked on the attention she was receiving from the man. “I felt really good because I got noticed.”
The attention, Bob says, was Audrey’s way of medicating her pain. During this time Bob became suspicious of the relationship when he noticed a change in the young man’s behavior. “He became standoffish and uncomfortable around me.”
After denying the relationship to Bob, the physical contact became more intense. Audrey says: “It was a very short trip before the relationship became sexual.”
Devastated that she would do such a thing, Audrey became confused, finding herself lying to Bob and the children in order to be with the man.
Audrey however realized three weeks later she couldn’t continue living the double life and ended the affair. Now she had to tell her husband of 17 years, what she had done.
“The first thing God told me was that I had to tell Bob,” she says. Although afraid and reluctant to do so, she got the courage to confess the affair to Bob. She knew hiding it would eventually destroy their marriage. However, at this point, she wasn’t so sure that telling him would save it.
Two days after the man left town Audrey approached Bob when they were both alone in the office. She knelt at his feet and, through tears, told him.
“This wasn’t just a little mistake. This wasn’t just a little ‘oops’ or a hiccup. I wanted to punch holes in walls, slam doors, you know… express some anger or rage!” Bob says. “All I wanted to do was get her fixed. ‘She’s the problem. She had the affair.’ Every happy memory of 17 years of marriage was gone. My head was screaming with words, ‘She doesn’t love you. She’s never loved you. Your marriage has been a farce.’”
Bob called, and later with his wife met a marriage counselor who had been a guest on one of their television programs. As a result of the meeting, every part of the couple’s relationship had to come to a new level of transparency. “All of a sudden there was no room for any secrets.” Audrey says.
But one big secret was yet to be revealed. A few months later they received news from the doctor. Audrey was pregnant as a result of the affair. Bob and Audrey resigned from their church and television ministry positions, moved to Phoenix, and told their children what was going on.
By the time Audrey went into labor, Bob had decided he would adopt the baby as his own.
Pastor Edward Mwesigye, who modulated the gathering at Watoto Church as the couple answered various questions from the audience asked:
“I have heard your story, and probably this will help us understand how someone practically forgives someone who has hurt and betrayed them. How can someone release that anger and bitterness, and be free?”
Audrey explained, “That is a question we get asked so often because that is the nature of our story. 17 years into our marriage, several different components led to this, Even when we looked so great on the outside, there was a loss of connection between us – I needed to express where I didn’t feel the connection but instead I kept it to my self because I didn’t want to confront Bod. And when that happened we lived in a dysfunctional [relationship].”
“During the affair there was so much confusion and conflict – one lie leads to another. All of a sudden everything was against my character, doing a lot of stuff I had never done before. Sexual sin always bring chaos and confusion into your life. I break up with the guy, and hear God’s voice saying; you need to tell Bod, which I finally did – I was trying to keep the secret for the rest of my life. ” she added.
“Pain, betrayal and infidelity entered our relationship, it was the most painful and indescribable season. My pain was different from his. But in our extreme brokenness, we reached out to God and asked for His help. And he begun a rescue plan. And that is something Jesus always does every-time you reach out to Him,” she said.
“There are some of you thinking there is no happy ending – All these things that we think are going to disqualify us from a happy ending – but the humility and brokenness, crying out to God and letting Him meet you in your pain and heal your broken heart will always result into experiencing Jesus,” she said.