Invite Chivalry into Your Marriage
- Thursday, January 01, 2009
Born out of our discussion, Leslie screamed at Paul, "Do you think I’m not capable of opening the door myself? Call it what you want, but I call it sexist! I do not need your help!" she ranted. Not surprisingly, Leslie’s outburst drew an instant crowd. Stripped of his dignity, Paul responded in the only way possible to save face amongst his peers. Thirty years later, his response holds as much impact for me today as it did then. In the best false bravado a nineteen-year-old guy could gather, Paul replied, "Which is exactly why I am holding it open for Judy. She," he overexaggerated, "is a lady!"
Without a doubt, it was Paul’s chivalry, rather than my social graces, that elevated him past the point of retaliation. In fact, it provided him with the poise to protect the honor of that moment. How often have you seen a guy react to a situation with language and -gestures that leave you feeling defiled? Fortunately, Paul did not succumb to anger. Because his character was stronger than his temper, his chivalry conveyed value, honor, and appreciation.
Discerning Our Divine Design
Paul’s act of chivalry was a defining moment in my life, and I was so grateful God had created me to wear garments of gentility and grace. What an incredible calling! It was also my first glimpse into how a misguided feminist movement seemed determined to erase femininity and chivalry from the heart of history and its women.
For further reading on what it means to be a biblical woman today, Mary Farrar’s Choices: For Women Who Long to Discover Life’s Best (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah, 1994) is highly recommended.
The same movement angrily opposed the belief that men were created to be gentlemen and protectors (warriors) dressed in breastplates of courage, integrity, and honor. A sense of knowing also "whispered" to me that the concept of chivalry would wither until, someday, a cry was heard to resurrect it to its rightful place in society.
Fast-forward to the year 2005. The notion that women were created to wear garments of gentility and grace has been further eradicated over the years. Many of us have struggled to some degree or another to be considered equal to or better than men in a world seen as unfair. Judging effectiveness by outcome would suggest the struggling may have been in vain. Many women are still frustrated and even more men are confused. However, in that pursuit of equality, have we unwittingly stripped our husband of his breastplate—his armor—of honor?
Driving the point home again, we are technologically superior to the generations before us. Surveys indicate women are more ambitious, more independent, and more intelligent than ever before. Yet how wise is it to attempt to thwart God’s design for His own children? You and I should take caution not to let our blind ambition betray us.
Chelsea, a lovely young woman who is single, successful, and wise beyond her years, wonders if we have lost sight of who we are, who we were created to be, who men are, and who they were created to be. And, most importantly, who God is.
Part of the problem may be that we’ve grown disillusioned. In the humanness of life, our husband has disappointed us—which he will do again and again, just as we let him down. There will always be those "difficult" days in marriage. It doesn’t mean we should cancel the original wedding covenant and create a new-andimproved version seemingly better suited for today’s traditions. Though some try, they also fail. Marriage is sacred because God created its covenant. We cannot, with the mystery, magic, and wonder of God Himself, rewrite that which is written on the heart of mankind.
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