I’m a fan of Michael Hyatt. For those of you who haven’t come across him, he’s a business guy who believes that even though you’re in business, you have to have some balance in life in order to live authentically. So, even though he’s way more conservative than I am, I can hear what he’s saying.  That is… up until he made a podcast on “4 Easy Steps to Affair-Proof Your Marriage” which you can watch here.

Not that all the ideas he had were wrong, but the very first one he mentioned got under my skin and the more I thought about it, the more it itched and burned, so here I am writing a blog about it.

He said that early on in his marriage he made a point of never having lunch or dinner, or taking a business trip, with someone of the opposite sex unless there was a third party also present.  Now that seems, well, almost chivalrous, right? How thoughtful he was to his spouse that he circumvented any possibility of temptation to stray.

But that line of thought reminded me of all the stories I’ve heard lately about girls in school who were sent home due to the way they were dressed. Instead of teaching boys how to manage their hormones, the schools were punishing the girls. Instead of instructing all the students on proper behavior and thoughts, the schools were making the girls their scapegoat. This is the reason that burkas were created, to keep the boys from being tempted by the girls - shifting the responsibility of one’s actions to an innocent party.  (Historically, a scapegoat was when all the sins of the society were laden on a goat and it was sent to the wilderness to be destroyed, thus absolving the society from those sins.) Needless to say, this is the wrong way to go about creating equality.  No, I take that back.  Apparently it’s not needless, it’s needful to say.  We need to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions. We need to perhaps be tempted and overcome that temptation. We need to develop a moral muscle.

So let’s look a little further in this scenario. Everyone knows that a whole lot of business doesn’t take place in business surroundings – it takes place in a social setting. When you make a rule that you will not be alone with someone of the opposite sex in a social setting, you are limiting business, not only for yourself but for the unlike gender, and because you refuse to be alone with her, you are failing at anti- sex discrimination laws.  According to EEOC, “Sex discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of that person's sex.”

And then let’s look at some professions.  I’m a massage therapist. I have naked people on my table all the time. Sure, they are covered by a sheet except for the portion of the body where I am working, but if I had a spouse who felt like Michael Hyatt, I would be unable to have male clients due to that whole temptation potential.  And what about doctors and therapists?  They wouldn’t be able to see anyone of the opposite sex.  You can see where I’m going with this.

And what it distills down to is this: A rule like this says that men and women cannot be friends. The guy who was your best friend in collage?  If he’s come to town and your husband can’t come to dinner with you, should you say, “sorry, my husband won’t understand” and deny yourself and your friend a wholesome reconnection from the past? Should you refrain from one relationship because of another?  That’s like saying your can’t love your child because you also love your spouse.

Can you possibly have a platonic relationship? Can you pursue a friendship without all the hoopla of sexual tension?

That is what adults do. If you feel some sort of chemistry with someone, and it’s not in your agreement with your spouse to have sexual encounters with others, then of course, back off. That’s part of the agreement. But sexuality doesn’t overtake the whole world. What might you be missing just because someone has made this issue a scapegoat?

I want an egalitarian society. This cannot happen when we treat people differently just because of gender. Period.

 


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    Renee has been around the block a few times and has some opinions on how we interact with each other. She's bringing over the blog posts from My Peace of the Earth, and will be adding more.

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