Healing of a marriage after adultery

I loved hearing Audrey and Bob Meisner’s testimony and I loved writing it up for Catholic papers.  Here is it in the B.C. Catholic.  An excerpt:

When one partner in a marriage commits adultery, finding healing may seem impossible, especially if the affair results in a pregnancy and the baby’s biological father is of a different race.

But Audrey and Bob Meisner, co-hosts of the Winnipeg-based Christian program “It’s a New Day,” told a conference at Saint Paul University recently the public fall from grace was difficult and painful, but God not only healed their marriage but also gave them a deeper experience of Christ’s love.

“Today is your day of breakthrough,” he told the multi-racial gathering of more than 50 couples from evangelical, Catholic, French, and English backgrounds at Covenant Marriage Conference sponsored by Denver-based Family Foundations International June 7-9. “Today is your tipping point. God desires to fix the things in your life that seem unfixable.”

Though Bob chose to forgive his wife and raise the mixed-race child as his own son, Audrey said she felt the judgment of those around her as if people taking Sharpie markers and painting an “X” over her.  Their public role in Christian ministry made the failure even worse.

Repentance comes in layers, as does forgiveness, they discovered.  Healing of the heart is a journey they experienced together.

Audrey was afraid of punishment, shame, and ridicule when she first told Bob about the adultery.  “I went into performance. I would do everything perfectly to show how sorry I was.  That performance was rooted in fear.”

Bob also went into performance mode, putting up barriers around his feelings and trying to control things while dealing with the devastating new reality. He said performance is necessary for a season so couples do not hurt each other further and show they prefer each other by modifying their behaviour. But no one can permanently live like that.

“It gets very tiring having to obey the letter of the law,” he said. “We want to enjoy the benefits of the marriage rather than keep each other on the straight and narrow.”

We gravitate to pleasure, Audrey said.  “I didn’t want to behave for Bob. I wanted to desire Bob.” But she found herself thinking of the other man because she entertained the wrongful belief that her adulterous relationship had been pleasurable.

“The Bible makes it clear that sin is pain,” she said, noting the massive pain her adultery brought her husband, children, family, and community.

“If I have a new belief in my heart and convince myself sin equals pain, I will avoid sin,” she said.  “Instead of trying so hard not to want it, why not convince your heart it is painful.”

Bob admitted he had issues of forgiveness to work through and he plunged into depression.  The dysfunction in their marriage went on for two years after the adultery.

Find out how they found freedom and healing in Christ and read the rest.

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1 Response to Healing of a marriage after adultery

  1. Dom says:

    Better not to vow then vow a vow and not keep it….
    I have no sympathy for people who fool around with vows. Either you say what you mean at the altar or you keep your mouth shut.
    This namby pamby slushy worldview is poisonous. What we do matters, what we say matters. They are the basis on which we shall be judged. If you say you will do something you do it.
    I am not married, women ignore me, and it seems likely that will continue indefinitely. So feel free to hurl abusive names at me and label me as lacking compassion, uncaring, cold and strict, whatever. I could care less what people think of me. I make few promises, but the few I do make I keep.
    There is nothing wrong with seeing life through a black and white lens at times. It sorts out a lot of the fuzzy crap that gets passed off today in “christian circles” as “advice”. This is why I stay away from conferences and don’t buy the paperback flotsam and jetsam published by most Christian (Catholic and Protestant) publishers. Rubbish designed to make a buck.

    Look for simplicity.Find your satisfaction in that. Do not strive for what you do not possess. In the end we possess nothing but our soul. That matters.

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