WASHINGTON -- Vice President Mike Pence lives by a few rules.
We know this because of a recent profile of Pence's wife, Karen, that was released by The Washington Post. The article mentioned that back in 2002, Pence was quoted in The Hill as saying he never ate alone with a woman other than his wife. At the time, Pence also said that he wouldn't attend any event where alcohol was being served unless his wife was with him.
Recently, the vice president has received plenty of backlash for his marital standards. Some claim that he is discriminating against women, being misogynistic or that his actions in the workplace are in some ways illegal. However, others believe establishing these parameters is sound marriage advice.
One thing is certain: Nobody should marry another person unless he or she is sure that person can be trusted.
More Than a Matter of Trust?
However, the question here isn't an issue of trust. Pence and his wife probably trust each other just as much as the average couple does, if not more. The root problem in this case deals with human nature and separating oneself from temptation and the optics surrounding certain situations. The reality is that sometimes the purest intentions don't always come across that way.
In today's media saturated age, it only takes one image or a tweet for someone's reputation to be forever ruined. A politician like Pence working for an administration that is constantly clashing with the media should to be hypersensitive about the appearance of their actions – even if what he is doing is not wrong.
As a Christian and a leader in this nation, Pence should hold himself to a higher standard. In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the Bible describes how an overseer must be above reproach. The passage even ends with a call to action to protect one's image and not fall into the snare of the enemy.
Unfortunately, when it comes to infidelity, Christians don't fare any better statistically. The most recent study from Christianity Today shows that "45 percent of Christians indicate having done something sexually inappropriate, and 23 percent having extramarital intercourse." (Anderson, 2000). These numbers are identical to the national averages.
The 'Billy Graham Rule'
It's no wonder Billy Graham included a similar rule in his "Modesto Manifesto" in 1948. The document was designed to keep his ministry team scandal-free as they traveled around the country to preach.
One of its guidelines: Never be alone with a woman who is not your wife. Now called the "Billy Graham Rule," it is being debated anew in the wake of news that the vice president follows it.
Whatever you think of the rules or their application in today's age, they kept Graham largely untainted by scandal for his entire career.
The question remains -- why go to these extremes to safeguard the establishment of marriage if both partners genuinely trust each other? Maybe you can trust your spouse, but the real question is can you trust yourself and are you doing enough to guard the zone around your marriage?
"Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41