It has rightly been said that true Christian freedom occurs when you are enabled to recognize, rather than deny, your weakness. This perspective doesn't necessarily necessitate hosting a past experience laden by a specific sin, but rather, acknowledging a general human frailty made inherent by the Fall. People who have neither this understanding nor the consequent freedom malign such cautious action, misunderstanding it to be the exact opposite of what it really is: bondage. Some, like Philip Sherburne, have even likened it to "Sharia Law." At least, this was the case when the personal marriage guidelines followed by Vice-President Mike Pence were publicized and commentated on by the media.
As is now well-known, Mr. Pence seeks to allow no room for compromise in his relationship with his wife. In fact, he famously denies dinner dates which involve only he and another woman, and especially where alcohol is concerned. Rather than commend this act for its loyal and chivalrous undercurrents, though, Pence is mocked as a man who demands such strict adherence and control as to resemble a repulsive degree of tyranny in his home; by others, he is depicted as a man with such insatiable sexual appetite that he simply cannot trust himself.
This is, simply, because the world and even some Christians have a difficult time with legality. This was, after all, the cause of the first sin, and continues as the epidemic of mankind. In a pleasure-loving world which grows only more hedonistic by the day, it seems an affront to human nature to place any restrictions on the pursuit of happiness. Moreover, to recognize one's own sin is an indirect indicator that others sin, as well and, until the world is enabled by His grace to come to terms with this truth, they will always insist that you are legalistic, stifled, insincere, and less than joyous.
Of course, legalism does certainly exist in the Christian realm. However, it is a heart issue and as such, can only be judged by God alone. If obedience is demonstrated in order to attain salvation or to elevate one's own holiness, then it does, indeed, exist as legalism. However, if it is enacted by a willing desire to avoid sin and its consequent breech of fellowship with God, then it certainly qualifies as biblically commendable. After all, Scripture plainly warns believers to resist even the appearance of evil for the sake of His Name and our spiritual welfare:
"Abstain from all appearance of evil ( 2 Thessalonians 5:22)."
Mollie Hemingway from The Federalist understands the value of Pence's criticized decisions:
"Anyway, is Mike Pence a monster for not dining privately with women who are not his wife? What about not boozing it up at parties unless his wife is around? Not only is he not a monster, he sounds like he’s a smart man who understands that infidelity is something that threatens every marriage and must be guarded against."
It is a disconcerting thing, indeed, when public acceptance secretly means more to us than our relationship with God, our spouses, and even---dare I say it at the risk of sounding old-fashioned---our reputations!
"A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold (Proverbs 22:1)."