Not Just Men, Evangelical Women Guard Our Marriages Too

Something is missing among much of the outrage and praise of Christians who set what’s being dubbed, “The Billy Graham Rule.”

No, our rules and boundaries aren’t all identical in the conservative Christian world. My boundaries don’t mimic those established by both Mr. and Mrs. Pence. For example, it’s not uncommon for me to have a business meeting with a male colleague over dinner or coffee. But who am I to dictate how the Pence’s show respect for one another and for their marriage? I’ve no idea what experiences have shaped the Pence’s guidelines to protect their marriage from infidelity.

 

Down with the patriarchy! The driving force behind Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to dine with a woman alone must be his desire to oppress women! Or so much of my Twitter feed tells me.

However, something is missing among much of the outrage and praise of Christians who set what’s being dubbed, “The Billy Graham Rule.” That is, the acknowledgement that Christian men aren’t the only ones who set boundaries in a professional environment with the opposite sex. Religious conservative working women employ boundaries to protect our marriages, too. So do Christian homemakers. And so do many non-religious women who acknowledge the reality of adultery.

Yes, women set personal and professional boundaries when it comes to men who aren’t our husbands. Even so, you won’t hear accusations that these women reduce men to sexual objects or temptations. That’s because the motivations don’t make for an easy strawman for the left to mock.

“I realize there are a small handful who take it to the extreme (like not riding in an elevator or avoiding one-on-one conversations—that’s just silly). But most people I know have good, right motives: That is, the desire to protect the most important earthly relationship they have—their marriage. And yours,” explained Joy Horrell Allmond, a writer and editor for a conservative Evangelical publication. “Critics: The bottom line is that most people who follow this rule don’t do so because they are trying to avoid you, devalue you, disrespect you or dehumanize you. You are not the point. It’s about God. It’s about their spouse. It’s about integrity. It’s not about you.”

No, our rules and boundaries aren’t all identical in the conservative Christian world. My boundaries don’t mimic those established by both Mr. and Mrs. Pence. For example, it’s not uncommon for me to have a business meeting with a male colleague over dinner or coffee. But who am I to dictate how the Pence’s show respect for one another and for their marriage? I’ve no idea what experiences have shaped the Pence’s guidelines to protect their marriage from infidelity.

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