The Washington Post ran an article about Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence, noting the closeness of their relationship and quoting something Pence told The Hill in 2002 about his never eating alone with another woman or attending an event where alcohol was being served. The exact quote was, “If there’s alcohol being served and people are being loose, I want to have the best-looking brunette in the room standing next to me”
What ensued was a Twitter storm of surprise, anger, and sarcasm to the Pence family rule. Some compared it to Sharia Law while others said it was sexist. One article suggested that Pence’s practice is “probably illegal.” Mother Jones magazine attempted to plumb the depths of misogyny implicit in Pence’s actions in support of marital fidelity. Emma Green thinks this incident, “shows how divided America has become about the fundamental claim embedded in the Pence family rule: that understandings of gender should guide the boundaries around people’s every interactions, and protecting a marriage should take precedence over all else, even if the way of doing it seems strange to some, and impose costs on other.” Molly Hemingway maintains, “The dust-up shows how radically notions of gender divide American culture.”
So how are we to treat our wives? I want to share some practices I have learned over the years in my marriage. Men, we need to take the words of Jesus to heart, “‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’re preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notice – they also corrupt” (Matt 5:28 – Message). Job declared, “I made a solemn pact with myself never to undress a girl with my eyes” ( Job 31:1 – Message). I like David French’s reminder, “Men and women were created to be together….Because of this powerful reality, when you put men and women together in intimate or intense situations, sexual relationships are inevitable.”
Here are a few tips from the old “Monk” in the northwoods. First, avoid any compromising situation with other women, especially in being alone. Keep your wife informed about female associates. Allow her to have her own “read out” on their character. Keep her informed about your activity throughout the day. Secondly, never allow yourself to enjoy the flittering of another woman, especially if she has emotional needs. You are not her savior. Thirdly, ask the Lord to build a “wall of fire” around you, allowing you to be courteous with other women, but also communicating that you are off limits.
Fourthly, have eyes only for your wife. She has super radar that detects if you have roaming eyes. You can look, but don’t order. Fifthly, when with another attractive woman do everything in your power to countenance her face, not any part of her body. Sixthly, be courteous and respectful of your wife in public, being aware of her presence with you at all times. Seventhly, do the little things to honor her by opening the car door and holding her hand. Let her walk ahead of you. Never, never, demean her in any way in public.
In private remember: first, be infatuated with your wife. Tell her how wonderful you think she is. Secondly, make her aware of being #1 in your life. Let her know how vital her companionship and friendship is to you. Thirdly, express genuine praise for your wife as a woman with her unique gifts and abilities. Fourthly, never, never make comparisons with other women. Fifthly, never take your relationship for granted. Sixthly, assure her you intend to grow old with her by your side.