Part 2: A Girl’s Response to Chivalry

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Your hands are covered with flour, and there’s a spot of it on your nose (though you don’t know it!). On the plate in your hands lies a slice of homemade bread, fresh from the oven. Thick and warm, smeared with creamy butter, drizzled with rich honey. You worked hard to make this golden loaf; kneading, mixing, baking until your arms were sore and the kitchen quite a mess. Then you let it rise while you cleaned up and washed the mountains of dishes. And now your bread is ready, and it was so worth the work! A perfect loaf…golden and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy in the center. You breathe deeply and then smile. You can’t wait to see his face.

Because this slice of bread isn’t for you. It’s a surprise for your hardworking papa, who has been working outside all day. You can’t wait to see his face when you show him your treat! Carefully, you balance the plate and a tall glass filled with cool, frothy milk on a tray, and head outdoors to meet your father.

“Dad!” you call. You can’t contain your pleasure, and beam with happiness when he turns to face you. He wipes his sweaty, suntanned face with the back of his arm and smiles to see his daughter coming.

“Look what I made for you!” you say eagerly, “Your favorite, Papa…homemade bread with butter and honey. I worked all morning to make it. Do you like it?” You couldn’t smile wider or sweeter if you tried.

But your father’s face quickly darkens, his expression turning angry and offended. “Well thanks,” he says with biting sarcasm, “But just for future reference, I can make my own food, you know.”

Your smile vanishes. “Wha…what do you mean?” you stammer, miserably.

“I find it a little insulting that my daughter doesn’t think me able to cook,” he retorts, “I’m not helpless.”

“I-I know that, Daddy…” you say, feeling heartbroken, “I know you can cook well. In fact, you can cook some things much better than me. I only meant to show you that I care about you, and I…appreciate you.”

“Well thanks,” he replies stiffly. You hesitate, then set the tray on the ground by your father. Turning on your heel, you run back into the house…

I very much doubt that your father would ever do something like this. Instead, he would smile, give you a big daddy bear-hug and compliment you on how amazing the bread was…even if you put in a bit too much salt! He’d see the kindness displayed in your action, and appreciate the sweet intentions behind it, as he should.

We all see the wrong way the father in the above, fictional illustration acted. We see pride and ingratitude in his words, and we know how much it would hurt to have our good intentions rebuffed so rudely.

By making your father something special, you aren’t implying that he can’t make it himself. You’re just showing him that you love him. By helping your mom wash the dishes, you aren’t saying she does a bad job. You just want to show her that you appreciate all the work she does and would like to help make her load lighter. When you give your friend a sweet gift, you generally aren’t trying to tell her that you think she can’t afford it! It’s just a way of showing her how much she means to you.

So why do we girls treat men and boys with disdain when they show us chivalry?

When a guy opens a door for you, he isn’t implying that you can’t open it for yourself. He is showing deference, respect, and honor for you. A man following this passage is trying to communicate that he honors and cherishes you. This is true chivalry.

On average, women are the weaker vessels, physically and emotionally. But you may be an Olympic gold medalist; a woman athlete stronger and more capable than the average man. You may have a black belt in karate. You may be Miss Annie Oakley herself. That has nothing to do with it. As a woman, men are to show you respect and honor…they are to cherish and esteem you. And so, whether you could beat him in arm wrestling or not, the godly man opens the door for you. He offers you his jacket when its cold or gives you his chair when the room is crowded. He does it because he wants to show you respect and honor.

To accept chivalrous acts is not, as feminism preaches, to degrade yourself or to admit weakness. In countries where women truly are disgraced and degraded, men are never chivalrous. They are bullies, taking advantage of weakness to accomplish their own ends and surpress their wives and daughters. In countries and eras where women are esteemed as God would have them be, we see chivalry, respect and deference, because in such times the female gender is valued and honored.

Girls, don’t allow pride to get in the way of letting guys fulfill their Biblical duty! Allow yourself to be respected and honored. Women in our culture don’t get enough veneration. Under the mask of freedom we bind ourselves to the status of sexual toys by dressing shamelessly and acting with brazen immodesty. We are lowering our own status in this fashion and men see that and respond to it by treating us with less respect.

So when a guy comes along who does those little things that show honor, we sabotage our own end by treating him like the enemy. Men who could care less about our comfort, who lust after us and think of us as little more than objects…they are the ones to avoid. And the truth is, every woman, deep inside her heart, dreams of marrying a gentleman who honors and cherishes her and would put himself in harm’s way to protect her or ensure her comfort.

Our responsibility is to encourage that gentlemanliness in our friends and brothers. Not by chiding or goading or demanding, but just by taking those little opportunities to accept and appreciate chivalry. That speaks to a guy’s heart far more than nagging!

So your little brother offers to lift a heavy box for you? This may annoy you at first. After all, you are stronger than him. Who exactly does he think he is? But stop; this really is just pride speaking. Think of the future, when the women in his life will depend on him. And, for his sake and theirs, accept graciously. “Thank you,” you can say with a genuine smile, “You’re getting so strong and manly! I really appreciate your help.” He’ll probably beam from ear to ear as he hauls away your load; and stand just a little taller than before.

Maybe your guy friend offers to get you a snack during an activity at youth group. Consider pushing down that first impulse to say, “Oh, it’s OK, I can get it!” Of course you can…but let him do it. Allow him to serve you.

At the grocery store, when a guy holds open a door for you, no matter how many piercings or tattoos he’s got appreciate him for the true gentlemanliness he is showing and say a heartfelt thank you.

Show gratitude and appreciation for the little acts of chivalry that pop up around you. They will probably start to become more frequent.

One last note: at this point you may be asking, “But what about me? Aren’t I supposed to serve as well?” Yes, we are, and I think this is a point worth mentioning. Just because guys are supposed to show women respect and honor doesn’t negate our duty as Christians to serve one another. We are still to self-sacrificially put others before ourselves, and take opportunities to give of ourselves for others.

When we follow Christ and His design for the genders, we will definitely reap the rewards in our lives, our relationships, our marriages, our homes and our hearts. After all…this is how it’s supposed to be.

Part 3: Self-Serving Chivalry (A Warning to Christian Guys)

Part 1: True Chivalry

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10 Responses

  1. i really enjoyed reading that! very interesting-however i would strongly disagree that women are emotionally weaker. Women are much more adept in dealing with there emotions and reading other peoples. Men tend to ignore their feelings. Believe me i no i see it every day. Apart from that a cracker piece of reading.

  2. […] Sister Keepers, there was a post on chivalry. In today’s society, when feminism rules and chivalry is frowned on, that once in […]

  3. Very good points. I always say thank you and smile when a guy opens a door for me or shows me respect. Chivalry is becoming more and more sparse, but when a guy shows respect, it is much appreciated.

  4. Amen Sister!

    I came across this blog when searching Chivalry, actually for images, as I am starting a facebook group to promote chivalry (not intending to advertise my dear! 😉 ), and I think this is excellently put!

    After you, thanks,
    ;P
    Phil

  5. Cass: By “emotionally weaker”, I didn’t mean that women can’t deal with their feelings as well as men…and I do agree that because women are more nurturing and relational, as a rule, they are better at reading others feelings and sentiments. When the Bible uses the phrase “weaker vessel” in referring to the wife, I think it is referencing in part the fact that women are often more vulnerable and more easily deceived then men. Not always, but often. Remember how the Bible says that it was not Adam who was deceived, but Eve (Genesis 3). Eve was tricked by the serpent, but Adam willfully sinned.

    So I do agree with what you said…women are more relational and often better at dealing with their emotional issues than men, who can tend to show a desire to “tough it out” and “be a man”. But I also think that we tend to be more vulnerable, less analytical. Like you said, we read others feelings better, while men tend to be more rational, logical, analytical.

    These are just generalizations of course, and I could well be wrong. 🙂 But thank you for commenting and for helping me to clarify what I meant.

    Phil: I’d like to see your Facebook group, if i can! What is it called?

  6. […] Part 2 “A Girl’s Response to Chivalry” Posted by Keely Filed in Christian Living, Guys ·Tags: chivalry, Christian Living, christianity, Guys, reward, self-sacrifice […]

  7. Hey, I appreciate this. I have actually had women who have walked faster as we approach a door, so that I couldn’t open it. Why do women have such a hard time accepting gentlemanly acts?

  8. Hey Andrew!

    Well, first of all, it’s pretty hard to judge why the women you have in mind started walking faster. After all, not many men make a point of opening doors for ladies anymore, so it’s unlikely they were expecting this service from you. Maybe they were just in a hurry?

    Maybe this is besides the point. If you want a fuller opinion on this, you might want to read Part 3 of this series. I believe there is plenty of fault on both sides. Guys are often guilty of false motives. Women often resent the unintended implication that they are “weak” or “helpless”, even though most guys don’t mean to infer this.

    I basically cover this in the series so check it out if you haven’t read it. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement and God bless.

  9. This is a great series! And I love this blog!
    “Why do women have such a hard time accepting gentlemanly acts?” -Andrew
    I’m sure that is frustrating, Andrew. Keep up the good work, God will reward you if your motives are right! Hopefully women who do this kind of thing will come to their sense and allow themselves to be served.

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