Yesterday the Washington Post published a story about Vice President Mike Pence and his relationship with his wife, Karen Pence. The big headline? He won't eat alone with women who aren't his wife and will not attend parties serving alcohol without her.
"In 2002, Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either," the Post reported.
Cue the meltdown. This, somehow, has been twisted as "extreme," with some on the left comparing his actions to Sharia Law. In actuality Pence is smart and does a service not only to his wife, but to professional women working inside the Beltway. His decision to err on the side of respect has certainly paid off.
Before becoming the governor Indiana in 2013, Mike Pence served as a U.S. Congressman for over a decade. With his wife by his side and a clean personal record, his career has taken him all the way to the White House.
Washington D.C. is often a sleazy, filthy town. The stories you hear about smoky backrooms are true. Go to any D.C. restaurant at happy hour and you'll see scores of married men surrounded by and engaged inappropriately with younger women who are not their wives. This city is a place where a small, but vicious and significant population of men and women crave power. They will stop at almost nothing to get it, which includes breaking up marriages. There are 50,000 Ashley Madison accounts with a D.C. address, making the nation's capitol number four in the country for infidelity. Right across the river and bordering D.C. is Arlington, Virginia, which comes in at number five.
Men in general, but especially powerful men in public positions, should respect and learn from Pence's boundaries. This doesn't mean they have to make the same decisions about how to handle professional situations, but understanding why Pence behaves the way he does is helpful with navigation. He has enormous respect for his wife and the women he works with, which is why he chooses not to put any of them into a position that could be perceived as compromising.
In Washington D.C., the stakes for marriage are high and tested often. Pence knows that and acts accordingly.
This piece has been updated with additional information.