Bob & Audrey Meisner Talk Forgiveness, Whole Marriage at Chapel Springs

| July 18, 2014 | 0 Comments | Community

Audrey & Bob Meisner at Chapel Springs in Bristow on July 13, 2014.

Authors and speakers Bob and Audrey Meisner moved churchgoers at Chapel Springs in Bristow and Stafford this week with the story of how their marriage survived the birth of their son, who was conceived out of infidelity. Not only did their marriage survive, but through their hard work and the grace of God, it thrived.

Now, the Meisners are best selling authors of “Marriage Under Cover” and other books about healing marriages and bring them to their fruition full of “peace, joy, friendship, shared dreams and laughter.” Chapel Springs invited them in as part of a sermon series they are doing this summer called “Whole Marriage.” 

Fourteen years ago, the Meisner were rising stars in their field. Caught up in the pressures of career and a family, they became more disconnected, leading Audrey to seek attention outside of their marriage and have an affair.

After she broke off the affair and confessed to Bob, Audrey found out she was pregnant.

Through Bob’s feeling of betrayal and Audrey’s shame, they made the difficult decision to continue with their marriage and the pregnancy. Because the baby would be biracial, the family knew the infidelity was bound to become public.

Bob’s friends told him they should give the child up for adoption to preserve their marriage. But one trusted church mentor disagreed. He challenged Bob to be a righteous man, telling him“what’s done is done,” and he could bond together his family by being “a father to the fatherless.”

When they told their three children that Audrey was expecting, it was a frightening moment, but Bob wrapped his wife in a blanket with the children on their bed, saying, “kids, this is what God does when you make a mistake.”

Despite not understanding the situation, his children were nonetheless happy that the family was going to have a baby.

But it was a tumultuous and difficult time. Audrey said they were previously well respected in Phoenix and some people did not want to forgive them, but rather wanted to see them torn down. Fortunately, not everyone felt that way.

“I learned who my true friends were,” she said.

The Meisners packed up and moved. While they did go back to face their community, Audrey said she could not let her family continue to live in what was becoming a toxic environment.

By the time Audrey went into labor, Bob had decided he would adopt the baby as his own. Bob said he wanted to name him Robert, “so he’d never wonder who his father was.” Then while looking through a baby name book, Audrey saw that Theodore meant “God’s gift,” and thus, that became their son’s middle name.

In their message to the community at Chapel Springs in Bristow Sunday morning, the Meisners explained how people choose to make their marriage work. They also talked about the process of forgiving others and forgiving themselves.

“Forgiveness is a process,” Bob explained. “You have to do it with intention. Time does not heal all,” he told Bristow Beat, contradicting the popular sentiment. However, with intention, Bob said he reached a point where, “all of sudden” his anger has subsided. “It’s finished; it’s over.”

Some churches stick to comfortable, traditional sermons, and would never think about discussing infidelity with the congregation, but that’s not Chapel Spring’s style.

“Churches need to talk about stuff that is real,” said Joshua Wesley, the new Music and Creative Arts Pastor. “The Bible is really the most practical book on Earth and we bring it to where we live. That’s what church is about. At least, that is what this church is about.”

After the service, Bob told Bristow Beat he does not believe it is God’s will that bad things happen, but God will nonetheless use those experiences to help us grow in spirit.

“My opinion is the negatives, or the crisis, isn’t God’s creating, but he will use it. He’s a good God and only good.” However, he added, God “won’t waste your pain.”

Rather, Bob said people can “trust God” to use the crisis for their benefit. “Within your pain is the potential to get everything you want. I really believe Christ came to heal the broken hearted.”

In her message to the congregation, Audrey said her father told her, “This is what you did, but it isn’t who you are.” She felt comforted in that as though the message came directly from God.

Today, the Meisners have the kind of marriage most people only aspire to have. From the way they look at each other, listen to each other and compliment one another, one gets the sense they are each other’s best friend communicating from a a place of complete trust and truth.

Bob said he believes that marriage is more than society’s creation, but part of God’s divine design. Because of this a husband and wife need to dedicate themselves to making the marriage work and being present with each other.

But, today, for the Meisners, their marriage is no longer work. They don’t fight. Bob said they don’t even have bad days. He explains that like any couple, they easily could, but they work with intention and choose to support each other, minimizing conflict, negative feelings and thoughts.

Those distractions that led Audrey to stray no longer exist for them, because there is no longer a distance between them. Bob said it is not just that they were both busy in those days, but that people use their busyness to fill a void.

The Meisners said while their marriage is now a joy, they continue to seek the guidance of God and to act and think intentionally. They hope to inspire others in their messages and books including “Marriage Undercover” and “Supernatural Marriage.”

Chapel Springs is also giving away a church-wedding to co-habitating couples who enter into their pre-marriage preparation and are considered ready to marry. 

© 2014, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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