I’ve been thinking about this situation all weekend.
I’m at a kid’s party this afternoon (my daughter was invited to a birthday party) and the adults sit and chat while the kids are playing. And we start dicussing this issue. Set aside the legal/illegal aspects of what the denist did for one moment, set aside how the dental assistant feels about all of this (because her feelings aren’t really relevant at the moment) and try to imagine that you are married to this denist. Your spouse comes home one day and admits to you that he or she is starting to have intimate thoughts about a subordinate in the office. That is a real risky thing to do, something that only the strongest of marriages would be able to handle. Nothing has happened (yet) but your spouse is all but telling you that he or she MIGHT act on this if given the chance. So (because you love your spouse) you tell him or her that the dental assistant has got to go. Terminate the employment.
Would you do that? Is that a rational reaction?
Moreover, you are the denist. Your you just admitted that your hormones are going wild working with this woman. She leans in close and holds the suction tube and the floride and instead of focusing on the drill in your hand, you are staring down your dental assistant’s shirt and looking at the boobies. You can’t get her out of your mind, you know that you can’t resist, but you don’t want to lose your marriage over this. So you tell your wife. And your wife says to you, you want to stay happily married, let her go.
Would you do that? Is that a rational response to her reaction?
We like to think that as human beings living in the civilized world that we are so sophisticated and responsible that we would never act out on the most primal of instincts. All we have to do is talk about our feelings with the ones we love and listen to their concerns and everything would go alright. But that is clearly not the case here. Here we have a man saying he wants to f-&k his dental assistant and his wife is saying I KNOW you are going to f-&k her if given a chance, you better let her go right now. There is no fooling around here, fix this problem before it becomes a real problem, (nip it in the bud so to speak.) But by doing this, both parties are freely admitting that #1) she can’t trust him and #2) he should not be trusted. And they found their marriage on these parameters.
That doesn’t sound very healthy to me. But far be it for me to sit there and analyze their marriage. If this is what works for them then…. do what you have to do to make it work.
The question remains, do you fire an assistant to please your spouse? This could happen for any of us (that are married) if we found our subordinate attractive. I have an administative assistant. She does not work entirely for me (I share her with other people on my team) but I can make requests of her to help in my tasks at work. I can’t imagine my life such that I would find any assistant of mine attractive enough to jeapordize my marriage to wife (the way this dentist did) but if I did, and I told her about it, should I have my assistant fired?
Or are we (as sophisticated human beings living in the civilized world) expected to control our sexual urges and to simply “disconnect” those primal desires to protect the feelings of the ones we love?
In 1990, at the ripe old age of 19, I was asked to be a Deacon at my church. Being a Deacon isn’t an ordained position, but it is a very important position. I was one of 24 volunteer members of a select commitee (members who served a 6 year calling) that was responsible for deciding some of the financial and missions related aspects of the church. 12 of us (myself included) were also responsible for the weekly responsibilities of preparing for church service that Sunday. My month of Sundays, was August.
In one of these August Sundays, I remember greeting a newbie who was visiting our church. It was a young woman in her mid to late 20s, a single mother. As Deacon, I was one of the first people to greet her at the door and I showed her to a pew where she was seated. We had our service and I assisted the Pastor in greeting people when they left. This young mom lingered in the Sanctuary with her daughter, not in any hurry to leave, trying to talk to as many people as she could. This continued the following week when she visited our church a second time.
In her third visit, she spent about 5 minutes talking to me in the sanctuary and told me that she would not be returning. I asked her why, if someone had offended her or if we didn’t make her feel comfortable? She said she was in fact very comfortable at our church and she very much wanted to continue attending but she saw no real reason to do so, that she was “…wasting her time.” So I asked a follow up question as to how she could be wasting her time here? She said that there weren’t any single Christian men at our church that she was interested in seeing socially outside of church and she wanted to get married. Returning for additional Sundays would be a waste of her very sparse time.
Well…. an honest (if not cold) response.
So this leads to a much bigger question: was she (from a Christian standpoint) acting ethically? Obviously, looking for a husband (and step-father for her daughter) was her primary motivation for attending our church if only for a very short period of time, but should that be the ONLY reason (as it apparently was?)
My first fiancée (well, we were engaged to be engaged if there is such a thing) told me that before she met me (early 1990s), she used to church-hop. For those not aware of what that means: church-hopping is like bar-hopping, but going to different churches week-after-week. You do that for the social aspect of church first (the spiritual aspect second.) I am not aware if this is still a custom carried out by younger Christians today but I can see the reason for it if you are shopping for a Christian spouse. What better possible place to look than church?
But is it ethical to do so if that is your sole motivation? Do you simply rule out attending a church simply because you can’t find anyone there who you might consider an eligible suitor? What if you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as you listen to sermon? Is nothing gained (nothing to gain that makes it worth your time) if no one there will do until death you do part?
Moreover, sometimes people in church might regard the search for a spouse (in their church) as something that makes them uncomfortable. Would a protective father who wants to raise his daughters in a place that he feels very Holy and sacred take kindly to some strange visiting man attending church one week and then asking to see one of his daughters socially, just one week later? As a father of a young daughter, I can tell you that I would find that downright creepy.
I’ve been searching the Gospels lately and I haven’t found any scripture that specifically disapproves of this behavior. So the answer to this question is pretty subjective based on how one looks at a church and the members who attend it.