Part 1: True Chivalry

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“Girls are stupid. Chivalry? Why…what kindness are women expected to do for men?”

I saw this phrase on an icon. The picture accompanying those words showed a doodle of a girl with a dress and braids, looking wide-eyed and clueless with question marks by her head. Whatever sort of guy made it was obviously bitter and angry. But then, in all honesty, is his attitude uncommon? Tragically enough, it seems to be the norm.

Our culture is one of give and take. “What can you do for me?” is asked before “What can I do for you?” It makes sense that, with this attitude so prevalent, guys would balk at the idea of chivalry. Some might be angered. “Why should I? What is she giving to me?” Others might be confused. “Women spend their time trying to prove how tough and independent they are. Wouldn’t it be degrading to open a door for the modern liberated woman?”

Guys, let me be honest. Our culture, and particularly our entertainment industry, displays women as tough, karate-kicking, crime-fighting machines that men kill and fight as ruthlessly as they do other men, and songs that degrade females to “sexual object” status. A girl’s pride may cause her to be irritated when you (for example) open a door for her, because she may feel that it implies that you think her weak or helpless. But no woman, in her heart of hearts, is against behind respected, honored, valued, and cherished. Maybe her pride and culture’s influence twist her understanding of the kindness you are trying to show, but deep in her heart, every girl wants to be treated as the priceless princess God created her to be. Make it clear to her in your actions and words that this is all you want: to treat her like she is honorable because that is how you see her. Whether she is five or eighty-five she will appreciate that. (Our next section is on a girl’s response to chivalry; guys should check that out to see what gentlemanliness looks like from a female perspective.)

So what are some practical ways you can show chivalry? Here’s a list of ten ideas. 

  1. When it’s cold, give her your jacket. What an awesome way to give of yourself! I don’t know many (if any) girls that would take issue with this one.
  2. When she’s standing, offer to get her a chair. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just ask, “Hey, would you rather sit? I can get you a chair.” She’ll probably say no, maybe because she’s concerned about troubling you. But just asking will make her feel honored.
  3. At a party or gathering, ask if you can get her something to eat or drink. The more casual you are about offering your service, the more comfortable she will feel. Remember; if you really desire to serve the women in your life, never make chivalry seem like a big “all about me, you may kiss my hand” kind of thing. You don’t want to make yourself the knight in shining armor, but the servant who puts others before himself and doesn’t ask for recognition. Remember what Jesus said; “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” How much more should we desire to give of ourselves for others.
  4. Help her out when she’s in trouble. You may think this is a no-brainer, but open your eyes and look for opportunities to help out the women around you. Maybe an elderly lady forgot her Bible in her car; offer to get it for her. Your mom could use some help carrying in the groceries; go without being asked. One of your female friends looses her car keys at youth group; help her out in looking for them. Actions like this speak louder than words. I’ll never forget the time a couple of my guy friends self-sacrificially helped me out of a tough situation. It meant a lot to me and showed me their true hearts more than anything else could have.
  5. When she’s upset, listen. Sometimes guys feel afraid to talk to girls when they are going through hard times; not sure that they will know what to say. But don’t worry about that. Just listen. Let her talk, let her cry, and be sympathetic and understanding. If she needs advice, give it, but sometimes the best thing you can do is be still and listen with warmth and attentiveness, like Job’s friends when they simply sat with their mourning companion in empathetic silence.
  6. Open the door for her. Perhaps the most pure and basic form of chivalry, but it endures as a simple way to show respect and a desire to be helpful.
  7. Encourage her. In this era, girls often feel pressured to compare themselves to the airbrushed models in magazines or the stylized faces on the big screen. Pop culture bombards us with the message that being beautiful and sexy will get us everything we want. And then we look at the standard of “perfection” we are held up to and feel cheap, ugly, and worthless. The guys in our lives play a huge part in instilling self-worth and a feeling of confidence and beauty in our hearts! Maybe you don’t realize how much girls hang on every action of yours, when they look to you so much for approval? One word of encouragement can make her spirit soar, whereas one flippant remark or one careless action (ignoring her for another girl or talking about other beautiful girls around her) can completely devastate her. That doesn’t mean you have to tell her she is beautiful and sweet or anything. But if she does something kind and you see it, tell her so. Here’s an example: “Hey, I saw how you treated that girl who was sitting all by herself. You were really kind to her. I could really see Jesus shine through you.” Or, “Hey, I just wanted to thank you for how cheerfully you served at the youth group car wash this weekend. You didn’t ask for anything; you just cheerfully did whatever no one else wanted to do. I could really see the beauty of Christ’s love in you.” Or, “You know, I really appreciate how you dress so cute and yet so modestly…it’s really cool. You are a pretty girl but you don’t flaunt it. I really appreciate that and I want you to know I think you are beautiful.” Don’t compare her to others and don’t flatter her…just be honest and real and encouraging. Take it from me: it could mean the world to her.
  8. Carry stuff. Yeah, that one is pretty self-explanatory. She may be the star on the softball team, but two extra arms never hurt anyone. Offer to help her out.
  9. Defend her to others. When you hear people trash-talking a girl or woman…whether you know her or not…stand up for her honor. She may never know that you do, but your Father in Heaven will. Whether a group of girls are spreading rumors or a bunch of guys are making inappropriate comments, even when it’s tough a true gentleman will defend the lady being discussed.
  10. Treat her like a sister in everything. Don’t flirt with a girl for the attention; the effect can be devastating. Honor her and respect her and treat her like a sister. Be her friend but don’t give her the wrong impression.

When you treat the women in your family, school, church, general aquaintance and happenstance meeting with respect and veneration, you are well on your way to becoming the man God calls you to be. A man who, like our Lord, would give of Himself for others…remembering how He made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, for sinners like you and I.

A great resource for guys is The Rebelution series on Chivalry, written by two Christian teenage boys. Click here to read Part 1 of the five-part series (links for the other four parts are on this page).

Part 2: A Girl’s Response to Chivalry

Part 3: A Warning to Christian Guys

Check back soon for the next part of this series!

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5 Responses

  1. […] Part 1: True Chivalry […]

  2. This is a great post! I know how special it makes me feel when guys do these sorts of things for me. I know it’s because they want to not because they have to. Chivalry isn’t exactly taught like it used to be. Guys, if it’s not something your accustomed to, and it seems awkward, practice on your sisters. You should treat all girls and women courteously, especially your mom and sisters. If you do, believe me, girls notice that!

  3. […] They are a 3-part article that I would like to share with you.  These articles are found at Sister’s Keepers.  I am in no way stealing this information, only giving you girls the link to go and read it.  I […]

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