I knew a girl in high school that wore a bracelet with these words emblazoned into it: Regain Chivalry. She said that it saddened her that chivalry was lost in the world and that she wanted to bring it back. It sounded like a neat idea, but I mentioned how some women might see this as offensive, the idea that they would need a man to do chivalrous things for them. In her usual style, she rolled her eyes and said, “I don’t need a man to do anything for me; but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be treated like a lady.”
In thinking about this lately, I’ve been wondering how I could do my part to regain chivalry. What are the some of the little kindnesses that I could perform to make sure I’m treating my wife like a lady? Here’s what I came up with:
As parents, the first item on my list might sound like a fantasy: take her on a date. Every so often, I’m committing to finding a sitter, making a reservation at a fancy restaurant and actually dressing up to go out. Yes, we’ll spend the whole time talking about our daughter and how we miss being with her; but we’ll also remember who we are when we’re not parents, how much we love each other and why we’re doing everything we’re doing. And we’ll have a few precious moments to look into each others’ eyes while sitting across a dinner table instead of a diaper bin.
Respond with Joy
Second item on the list: I’m committing to responding joyfully to every ask. There are a lot of asks in daily life as parents: could you change the laundry, get some water, wake me at noon etc. With little sleep, it can become hard to answer each one in a positive way, but that’s what I’m going to work on. That and trying to take care of the “asks” before they’re asked. Besides, as hard as pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding are, the least I can do is to respond to every ask with a “sure thing” or “you bet, honey.”
Give Her Time
Finally, I’m going to do my best to provide time for my wife to feel like a lady. By that I mean extra time sleeping, baths, longer showers and time to dry her hair and put clothes on other than the maternity robe she gave birth in five months ago. Ok, exaggeration, but if she wants the time to feel more like herself, she gets it.
Yes, I realize that 600 years ago chivalry meant galloping in on your horse to rescue a fair maiden from certain doom and my version of it is giving a big smile while changing diapers; but I think we could all do a bit here and there to regain chivalry and make the noble women in our lives feel more like the special creatures they are.
What are your tips for regaining chivalry?