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June 30, 2020 2:00 am
Bob and Audrey Meisner share the dramatic story of how their seemingly "perfect" marriage was nearly destroyed by an affair. They offer hope for marriages damaged by infidelity as they describe how God's grace led them along the hard road to reconciliation and restored their marriage. (Part 1 of 2)
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I can't do this anymore I can do this. Eli describes the day. His wife had her suitcase packed ready to walk away from their marriage and I was all about know my my obsession, which was of the time being and of his career and his dream job that I had one for years but try to do that with an addiction in going where the good news is that Eli's journey toward helping healing begin with our podcast Focus on the Family help me in my marriage. Probably exact point in time that I needed.
I'm Jim Daly working together we can rescue more marriages like he lives and when you donate today. Your gift will be double.
Learn email@example.com/strengthen family or call 800 a family. You say I love you and how I wish and pray I could believe that with all my heart. What hurts the most is that you chose not to love but give what was ours and made a choice to love another. When will the pain and doubts sign. I don't know. But soon I hope. When all the pain and doubts subside. I don't know what's going to happen, you imagine how you'd feel after learning the one person you love the most is betrayed you on today's Focus on the Family you'll hear about a family's journey through infidelity and the miraculous work that God did to bring them back together. Your host is focus president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, John, we have talked many times on this program about marriages that are on the brink. It's the end.
In fact, we have a program called hope restored for those specific couples who have come to the end of the rope and I want to say that right from the get-go.
You are not alone. If you're struggling and having difficulty we and really the Lord behind the we are here to help you in today's program for many of you will open up emotions and I hope that happens because we want healing to occur. We've heard from couples who struggle through difficult and heartbreaking situations from the outside. We may be tempted to judge whether not they did the right thing or if they applied the right spiritual understanding to the situation we never really know the full story.
We judge from the outside. And let's face it, we tend to do that we look at the circumstance of our neighbor, our friends and we think we have the answers but we don't really know what's all going on underneath it. We do know that God hates divorce and that's not his plan for us in a lifelong commitment to each other and that the devastation of divorce can create crippling consequences for the couple for their kids for the family as a whole. That's why I am so grateful to have Bob and Audrey Meisner. With this in the studio today because their story is one of hope. Although it is a bumpy road and Dr. Bob and Audrey Meisner are the founders of love married life, which is a ministry where they teach and train married couples who are struggling or just want to experience a better, more fulfilling marriage and that they write and speak on marriage issues regularly. They were in the book that will form the basis of our conversation today.
Marriage undercover thriving in a culture of quiet desperation and I think it's doctors you both.you first of all welcome to Focus on the Family thinking very well like hiding your family here and part of our family find time a liking to Mary coming on 34 years next year. 34 and have a huge impact on us that we are on a piano when you look at that. That's so comforting us and all the staff ear that works hard every day. That is an encouragement to us that we played some small role in your family's life and you know, as we hear your story that gives us even more confidence that what we do every day what the supporters of support us and work hard every day to send those gifts to us that it is a treasure in heaven story is a treasure and I have a need.
I need to focus on the family because what you're doing actually working.
It's touching hearts, not just timelines.
We can outline the right staff that when our hearts are attached and God is involved, the impossible situation becomes possible and that's what I hear on Focus on the Family when you guys were uniquely tested in this way.
I mean, you know, obviously made decisions under the UN Bob in a very difficult spot. I want to get to that story.
But let's talk about the first 17 years of your more than 30 years of marriage because you describe those in your book is wonderful times, good times you work in sync.
You were coming one flesh.
Scripture was a describe for me well for us. We we met at Bible college and our backgrounds were extremely similar in our upbringing. So we just love that about it to other what we hear so much alike 17 years. We really saw no different now, but since then while I get so different but we love each other but will be loved most was that we had such a heart of devotion to the Lord. We really wanted to be world changers how God has transformed our lives and we just knew that we would be able to do and create something better together than if we were apart from each other yet and Audrey mentioned this. This can fill it out a bit more, but you are going to marriage conferences. You're doing the right things, reading books together as you put your head on the pillow.
I'm sure playing together in a church to get my memories with our children live lots and then that busy stuff. After 17 years you're doing a lot. You do a lot for the Lord to do a lot for your family will change the world and you gotta be busy mindset and you feel as though that every moment, every minute really counts, and almost that drive comes in and you need to always do more the better, and you'll create and always be on top of things and Bob referred the listeners that vocationally are in ministry that applies them to me they may not try to change the world out there trying to earn her own way and to climb the mountain. Can I think that many of you get caught up in the culture and the amount of activity. I think that really includes a condition of your heart, rightly or not going down and really understanding even heart of your children and how to guide your own heart nontender challenges that we face in our current electronic driven world is the social media were constantly being judged. Do you like me now. Do you like this if I said this well you know and sort always putting ourselves out there and we become extremely communal almost wrung out and very tired.
Yeah. And before he popped the lid on the stories you speak your families of origin.
I think played into some of the activity that occurred and I identified with it is you're talking about in always being can update and that passive orientation where you don't talk about hard things in the family did you both come from that, family know I can't nonconfrontational and I'm pleased there's any family of origin ever thought my mom and dad never never heard yelling going on, so I was like I know, but now listen to hear that because there is a will. If you're Christian you should fight or argue that you are saying. It actually was developing unhealthy attitudes for you.
We can your ability to cope as an adult to make it to function because Jesus clearly tells us that communication and not speak the truth in life was really good at speaking live. I can live and connect with pretty much anyone I am still good at not naturally and I think that's our marriage would be in for me. I was very good speaking truth and there's so much alike and and I hadn't a limited capacity for love because I was right. So it's not necessarily confronting mining because it was right as you and I would naturally just power under that complete change mine and I wasn't trying to be overbearing. I wasn't trying to yeah so I'm back at us for 17 years.
I was literally conforming to fight. We never allowed constant appeasement but again you just described this for 17 years is rather joyful and positive. She made sure it was that way.
Describe that situation now or you're feeling that withdraw your band understand it, maybe not fully but emotionally your dry document 1770s. I want to start I would not know that I would be able to see Wayne aware me now okay I like when I as quietly desperate. I was hiding from ice South.
So what were the circumstances that I got in my mind like I got a canteen when I feel desperate way Be determined and be selfless anytime they hit me that girl IG that was hiding behind the patient just want to be heard whenever she would rise up and start to guess that I would just shot her dancing now. We are not selfish people.
Audrey you get up and do what you're supposed to do. So I did that part of body that was desperately asking for help and I just shot her down and I kept working but yeah just can ask because again I think it's important. It sounds like a but with the fruit of the spirit. These are the things we need to be were striving to be and I can relate to that. I want to be full of joy and love and peace and an express at all around me, but you're saying there's a part of you that couldn't always feel that you felt guilty not being all that my negativity is not.
I'm not comfortable with any negativity. But what you're saying.
We've got a catch because you are saying there's part of me that is just human. I have the spirit of God in me. There's part of me that fights this too and I got to realize that even though I want to subdue it in the spirit. I want to make sure that it's not all of me.
Jesus loves that IG that was stacked and hiding and wanting to draw her out and love her and hold her and comfort her in the weakness and calling her her but you know what I'm saying is I was rising up for that kind of comfort but that's when a man and I start coming to our church and he started to bring me the way I felt comfort. So he was thinking that all the rest. Speaking to that IGT was the only one I was craving so thirsty for that drink of water that when he complimented me and comfort me in the way… He felt, heard, I started to let down my defenses and I started to crave more and more and more that you and I guess the question is as awkward as it is what happened where did it go right to get your input and I thought I was Anine from any kind. I 17 years. I'm a good girl.
I always have any. Jesus: a lucky girl you know right from wrong and let my kids never done any thing that would mean and so I I thought this is so nice that he's paying attention to that IG that were talking about so I thought this is wonderful to be confronted and I don't need the kind of boundaries that other people do because I'm so strong I can go for lunch and I can write emails and I can eat alone with this guy because he's younger than me.
I'm kind of ministering to him I'm showing him that he can justify it over and over again. I think everyone is hearing to start examining their hearing and what you're describing where you begin to make the mistake. Yes, their friendship right we thought. We sell in a sense is a matter of time because I began to compromise our guest today on Focus on the Family are Bob and Audrey Meisner. They have written a powerful book about their journey.
It's called marriage undercover thriving in a culture of quiet desperation and we got the book here at the ministry look in the episode notes for the link and now here's more of a conversation with the Meisner's as we continue, I asked Bob this question. How would you have responded if Audrey had come to you and explain the temptation she was facing with this other man all you know I wished I would've had that opportunity again I don't know how I would've responded but I would imagine I would've done it with love because we cared so deeply about each other.
I can remember us being together, having lunch and I would challenge her on the relationship and as you are noticing something yeah and I was and I was having some uncomfortable feelings and so I did ask her and she's like no know everything's fine.
Everything safe and so I wanted to trust her in this and so had she, I believe that had she been willing because you know pride is the place where we hide in. A lot of times in our pride is like we don't need… This manage I can do this but one were willing to humble ourselves. That's when we embrace truth and when we find truth we really begin to be set free and so in our relationship in our journey to wholeness is that we been real lovers of truth and no more secrets no more hiding and we are not dependent on each other wholly dependent on him. Well, that can be the outcome, which is the most God centric positive outcome. You can occur. Unfortunately doesn't often go that direction and that's again one of the reasons were grateful for you guys and your vulnerability and you're willing to live well working to get yeah I want to get right back to that part of the story because we kinda jumped ahead to, you know the healing process but I want people to feel the pain that both you and Bob are going through it. How long did the affair last on the fringe transfer couple years and that friendship developed and that's what Bob was noticing the message anyone because he said I say more tangibly escalating and turn into flirting anatomy that felt so good to continue speaking to my beauty. Every woman wants to feel beautiful desire how you know this guy is paying so much attention to me. And the reason I lied when he asked me said I didn't want to stop.
I was getting to the point radically addicted to this friendship weightless feeding me and it became almost like my drug of choice believe that part of me that will selfish ego. That's what I really want to First yeah because I think it's important for everyone. Whether you're a man or woman what Audrey is describing here are so critical is the appetite of our heart.
Scripture will describe it is even a loss that we have. I want people to really as best as they can identify that in their own lives with that is at. So let's dig in the pain people here that yes it selfish but theaters that part of me again. That girl is hiding that isn't so much pain that I'm trying to find that place and I so wish that I would've gone to Jesus he could found with that's my next place where was your relationship with the Lord your in a Christian home. You grew up in a Christian home you're married or Christian man.
You're in church. What you praying like I am praying and I'm being honest in my journal thing.
I'm confused God, what do I do hear from you. Yes you are is Audrey, would you run with the wrestling.
You can hear the wrestling Holy Spirit. Audrey wanted to make that choice and do the right thing and be strong and be a lover of truth selfish. I know I finally feel heard. Have to have this relationship. Any diamond that was more powerful than your ear how it went out because that friendship eventually turn into a sexual affair. I never dreamed what ever happened to me and now I'm you want talk about wrestling. Now I'm living whenever we can participate with sexual sin. Chaos and confusion enters and I was like I can't believe this is me I'm doing. I want this but I know it's wrong, everything. I don't believe there are scriptures that spoke to your heart. At that point was this the beginning of oh, what in God's word was connecting with you if anything I think Me, in a three wheel out because I was and I was in a sexual sin is not tightly stop three weeks three weeks and that the affair lasted three weeks, the actual sexual part of the last three weeks, but let Me as I believe those aren't just everything about who God says I am this was not me. Finally, the voice inside my heart that there's nothing about this, that is you Audrey. This is not you.
This is not you love your husband you love your children you love your family, love.this is not you screaming stop stop stop. Okay you're describing a fork in the road that you came to the new through God's leading your humility crumbling him and you had to say I this is David and I think licensing you're the one yeah but it's coming from within your case point I want to help people have that moment that fork in the road because I guess the question my mind is why do they choose the other fork where they choose the ones that she what is happening in their heart and in their head when they choose the other path that she think they can get the escape sex for me it was the escape from that extremely easy to read and external life that was riding me like an escape for me and so we think that this is to give us the escape or the pleasure that we want, but I feel like selling it from the housetops to that person. It's not can get you what you want because it can go down around it pain that is going to lead you to everything that is destruction, depression, devastation you want talk about desperation you choose this route. Sin is pleasurable for a season in the Bible even teaches us that well you go on your choosing to teach you that pop pain beyond belief.
The word that is coming to my heart and mind is grace. This is evidence of God's grace that you were counseling with another human being. At this you have this really my little world knew what was best expressions of God's grace that I can imagine that he is speaking to you in every way. Audrey will be on my worst day to and she's loving me while I was in that sexual thing still speaking to my heart.
But the issue is you got to hear it, and so many people crush the still stand just like they can hear the pain. This is a good spot to mention help restore John a minute. Again, if you're that couple that is living in this desperation you are listening to Audrey and you're going, it's me Audrey is me or I'm almost there are just went through that. I don't know what to do. Call us.
Let us amplify the voice of God in your heart. Let us give it whatever more weight.
It might need. Let us counsel with you and let the people here love that person that's hiding you know not to love the Lord. That is so supernatural you don't you just love you honey seem to listen and I love you hers. It's not about the judgment of the miss doing and I want to come back next time and talk about that because we can do so much damage in that regard. Sure there is truth in Bob I want your perspective. I want to hear you the truth guy talk about your wrestling with your wife over this and how she came to you and said what was happening which Audrey great credit to you that you didn't keep it hidden.
That's because anything back that evening involving myself in that sexual sin like that. Something I will always grieve over that God has forgiven me. I not forgiven myself, and I think taking David, were you would say yes because he acted too and I think that she is been forgiven much less match anything that turning that into the redemption of Jesus can heal our hearts, but I'm sure people are going okay. We got Audrey storybook man if I were her husband I'd be out of there. I've got to at least capture will you little the minute I need to capture release that perspective. I hang in there because I've been loved and he loves me and I remember one day receiving a phone call from my dad saying to me Bob I thought you should hear from me. I'm leaving your mom. I never ever wanted to make that phone call to my children. So, if what God says about himself is really true in real because I could not live with just a theological understanding I needed his truth to become my reality. And then that drove me into his throne room of grace because no longer was it an issue of right or wrong.
His realities had to become mine and Bob. The thing about that is that you have every right to be the older brother. The one full of bitterness, full jealousy, full of contempt because of what you have done. I'm not saying I didn't have those yeah but you work through them. Obviously I have to and I'm speaking to the person who's in the middle that that is justified in their mind and their heart.
They are righteous right saying you wronged me in a way that even the Bible even the Lord himself gives me an exit card for I get out of this relationship because of what you did to me. It's not his choice is not his desire for us but he does say yes I can in this marriage because of what you've done. That's power.
Yeah, but again, then all I'm looking out for is me all I'm concerned about is me at the expense of my wife at the expense of my children. But more than that, at the expense of generations and that's something that I hear and see with Focus on the Family is that you love will deeply the generations your speaking to generations is not about me but it is about the legacy I will leave to my 10 well here is the profoundest of what you're saying. If I could crystallize marriage in so many ways is all about us becoming more like Christ.
Even in the failures that you have experienced as a couple. What I love. Here is you made good decisions. After making that decision and what you think have learned and what I just heard you say is that you have done it, you become more like Christ in that you lead your selfishness aside became more selfless for your bride.
That is huge.
That's something I get to experience. But what the world sees because marriage is that prophetic voice in the earth of how Christ loves the church, therefore the world should be able to look at us and say so. That's what the love of God, looks like this isn't about me or our story. This is about the extravagance of a father's love towards me. Amen. Let me now unfortunately we got a stop here, but there is more to the story were to come back next time and pick this up and I have missed several questions that are rattling around in my mind that I want to ask you, and I think it to be really good for us to come back.
The cliffhanger is Audrey yes you are pregnant like two weeks later we found pregnant as a result of this if their baby was not bath and would not look like their children and at this point, we gotta say come back in here the rest of the story.
Thanks for being with us and took it up next time and that's how we concluded the first part of her conversation with Drs. Bob and Audrey Meisner. Today's episode of Focus on the Family John if any of our listeners can identify with the pain and heartbreak that Bob and Audrey described today. I pray that you will contact us.
We have a team of Christian counselors who are available to talk with you.
Pray with you and give you some guidance on next steps and we mention hope restored at the beginning of this program. That's where we can provide intensive counseling over several days at the sessions we seen some of the most broken people, couples who had divorce papers in hand and were only going as a last ditch effort but God intervenes, and we've seen miracle after miracle.
As a result of hope restored.
We have a 99% satisfaction rate from the couples who attend and 4/5 couples who we've surveyed are still together. Two years later, after going through this counseling.
I want to urge you to take advantage of these great resources for your marriage, and that includes the Meisner's powerful book marriage undercover which we can make available to you for gift of any amount to Focus on the Family today. Remember, here focus that we so appreciate your generosity. Especially now when we have a matching gift opportunity that means anything you give will be doubled.
That's double the impact in rescuing marriages, encouraging parents and giving families hope during this coronavirus pandemic call us at 800-232-6459. That's 800 the letter a in the word family or click on the link in the episode notes to learn more about our counseling team hope restored in the book marriage undercover next time you hear how God transforms the heart of Bob Meister after Audrey confessed her for everything sodomy wanted to expose everything inside me wanted to shame. Look what she did to me.
All that would do was puff up my self-righteousness on the innocent one here I'm the victim. She did this to me says that's not God on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back.
As we once more help you and your family thrive and I knew my marriage was falling apart. I just did not affix.
I felt like I would always be alone even if I stayed married at Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensive. We offer hope to couples in crisis so they can have the marriage they always dreamed for the first time I felt like my husband truly heard me. I received some great tools from the counselor's of change my life and my marriage to begin the journey of finding health go to hope restored.com today