I was scrolling through Facebook when something popped up in my feed. It was an article about Mike Pence, and how he doesn’t have dinner with people of the opposite gender alone. I thought instantly “Wow, good for him!” I clicked to read the article, and was shocked about how many people were disgusted and said it was “sexist” for Pence to have that rule in his marriage.
So I’ve compiled a couple thoughts.
1. It’s not really any of our business. Pence and his wife have the right to make absolutely whatever rules and boundaries they want to in their marriage. Randy and I have boundaries in our marriage that other people may not get or agree with. And that’s totally fine. If both husband and wife agree, really nobody else gets to have a say in it.
2. Randy and I actually hold that same rule. I don’t have dinner with someone of the opposite gender alone, and neither does Randy. We try to avoid riding in the car with someone of the opposite gender alone. It’s something that we discussed when we got married and I was in the professional world. It’s something that’s important to use, and for our lifestyle. You don’t agree or don’t like that? Good for you, you can have whatever rules or boundaries you’d like in your marriage and relationships as well!
3. Not everything is about sex. It’s not about that at all, probably not for the Pence family and not for Randy and I. I’m not concerned that having dinner alone with a woman would cause them to immediately need to kiss each other. It’s about the appearance, the boundary for our marriage, the things that are valuable for us and how we live our lives.
4. You need to respect marriages. We have this thing in the world today where we think we don’t need to respect each other’s marriages. Whether that’s some girl in Randy’s class that found out he was married and said “that’s too bad…”, or someone encouraging a married friend to lie to their spouse about anything, or someone saying that boundaries and rules that a couple has made are incorrect. I hope that you haven’t decided to have things certain ways in your marriage, only to see people come up and tell you how wrong it is. I’m certain that Mike Pence finds ways to be professional and have professional meetings in ways that work with the boundaries he and his wife have set. Now we need to respect those boundaries, and their marriage.
5. If you don’t think that inter-office affairs do happen, you’re wrong. They happen all the time. Now, am I saying that having dinner alone with a co-worker automatically leads to an affair? Of course not. But for my marriage, why would we even put ourselves anywhere near that situation? We just have decided not to even go there. Regardless of the fact that I know Randy and he knows me, and we know we wouldn’t ever do that.
6. Mike Pence still hires women. I work in an industry that’s mostly dominated by men. And I don’t ever wish that a woman vs. a man is hired or anything like that, just because I won’t go to lunch or dinner alone with them. I get along really well with most of the men I work with. The fact that I’m not going to go to lunch alone with them doesn’t change that. What it does do is give me a personal boundary, that’s been extremely easy to keep. Sure, sometimes I excuse myself or invite another colleague, but in all honesty it’s not difficult.
The bottom line here, is that someone in their personal life has established a boundary for their marriage. We don’t know why, and to be frank we should all butt out. It doesn’t matter. Is he still getting his job done? It appears so. And if nothing else, I certainly have so much more respect for him now than ever before.
So if you view a man and his wife determining something together, and him sticking to that, sexist…I guess I’m entirely wrong about what that word means.