Chivalry is making a comeback!

The other day I stumbled across an article which essentially proclaimed “CHIVALRY IS DEAD: Here’s why.” Like a bright red flashing warning sign smack bang in front of my face, I saw the temptation to give in to that kind of defeatist thinking. And I get it, I really do! Pretending we don’t need strong men often hurts less than acknowledging the ways in which our desperate need for them can go unsatisfied.

For many women, this kind of self-defence mechanism makes it difficult to accept genuine romantic gestures or expressions of honor. For a long time I was one of those women: I didn’t see my own worth, so I didn’t trust that anyone else would see it either. I found it was easier to be tough and push people away than to be vulnerable and risk getting hurt, but it meant that I missed out on receiving the respect my brothers in Christ were trying to show me.

For others, chivalry seems old-fashioned and unnecessary because they feel the need to prove themselves. The last century has birthed a specific type of women who believe that being independent and self-sufficient is the ultimate measure of success, and the less input they need in their lives from men the better. As a result, men are often afraid of chivalry because they don’t want to be seen as patronising, sexist, or even disrespectful.

But I don’t believe that’s the end of the story!

I believe that…

… Women deserve to be pursued: I’m not content to pursue.

… When a man holds a door for me, lets me go first, gives up his seat, offers his jacket when it’s cold or carries something heavy for me, it’s honorable and courteous rather than patronising.

… Having a man offer help with those simple things is not a reflection of my capability, but of my worth. I can do it myself, but I choose to accept their offer.

… Being walked to my door doesn’t have to mean a guy is expecting something more.

… Men who have strong boundaries are showing me respect rather than being disinterested.

… Love notes are a sign of sincerity rather than soppiness.

… A man who is intentional and clear about his feelings is far more attractive than one who plays hard to get and fails to guard my heart.

… Submitting to my future husband’s leadership won’t make me any less of a woman: authentic masculinity nurtures authentic femininity, and vice versa.

And I believe there is a generation of women rising up who feel the same. Women who are so confident in who they are as daughters of the Most High King that they can simultaneously humble themselves in embracing their need for the complementarity of men and assert their own feminine dignity. They recognise that allowing a man to protect and provide for them isn’t a sign of weakness but a sign of their infinite value.

These women are beautiful. They’re strong. They’re captivating. Above all they draw people in to the picture of Christ which they reflect. They know who they are and whose they are, and they trust in God’s plan for their lives. They embody true femininity and draw out true masculinity from the men around them. Women: you can choose to be one of them. Come and join the revolution.

Men: in the words of the great Saint John Paul II, “be not afraid” to treat women with the dignity and respect they deserve. If they reject your chivalrous efforts, remember that the unseen reality may be that they’re desperate to encounter authentic love but are so entrenched in the message that they’re unworthy of that love that they’re lashing out to protect themselves from the risk of being hurt. They need your prayers more than ever! Be the man your heart desires to be, and you have the power to point them towards the love of Christ and help restore their own view of themselves! Never underestimate that privilege.
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Esther-Rich-2-770x1024Esther Rich has a bachelor degree in Psychology from Oxford University, UK, and is currently completing the Sion Community Youth Foundation Year, working on their youth ministry team. She loves Theology of the Body, Papa Francesco and a good worship band. She is passionate about empowering women to be who they were created to be, and blogs at “For Such A Time As This.”

 

17 Comments

  1. I really like it when a young man is polite and chivalrous. Of course I can open doors, pull out my own chair, brave the cold and rain, or spend a whole day without an encouraging smile (my favorite.) But, what kind of world would this be if we didn’t ever experience random acts of kindness?

    I think sometimes as women we are on our guard against men who want to manipulate our hearts by being sweet to us because they want to use us. And it happens. But, we need to realize that not every man is like that. If every single woman of faith prayed for men in general, for their purity of heart, we would start a holy revolution. What power God has given us women, in prayer and fasting, in praying the Scriptures, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy… do we use these weapons?

    By Michelle | 1 year ago Reply
  2. Ok God. I am listening and want to be obedient. Help me

    By Laura Anne | 1 year ago Reply
  3. Ok God. I am listening and want to be obedient. Help me

    By Laura Anne | 1 year ago Reply
    • Hey Laura Anne,
      I can’t help but notice that you might be looking for direction. Feel free to tell me to shut up if I’m wrong. I’m willing to talk with you (over email).
      I’m 17 years old. I’ve been raised a traditional catholic all my life…if any of that means anything to you.
      Happy feast of St. Phillip Neri. God bless!
      Love,
      Frannie

      By FULLTHROTTLE23 | 1 year ago Reply
    • okay so my first one did post. sigh. just read that one.

      By FULLTHROTTLE23 | 1 year ago Reply
  4. Wow…what a great article. Well written, simple, articulate, and concise. So many women would say that letting a man open a door or walking them to the porch comes from some place of “oh, you can’t do that yourself, I need to protect you because you’re just a woman.” No! I appreciate how you approach chivalry as a way of honoring the woman. Yes! As you said, acts of chivalry are not a reflection of the man’s capability, but of the woman’s worth. Being independent is not a bad goal in and of itself, but the complementarity of men and woman cannot be brushed aside. It is a wonderful thing. The way I see it, both sexes have their particular gifts, and charisms, if you will, and when both sexes work together…it is a wonderful thing. Could you please share some things or perhaps write an article on how you came around to accepting compliments and small acts of chivalry in your life?

    Thanks for writing!

    By Michael B. | 1 year ago Reply
  5. Yes! Love this post, Esther! Thank you!

    By Nicole | 1 year ago Reply
  6. This is beautiful, Esther! Thank you so much!!

    By Shannon | 1 year ago Reply
  7. This is beautiful, Esther! Thank you so much!!

    By Shannon | 1 year ago Reply
  8. Thank you for highlighting these things we often forget to recognize in our everyday experiences. After reading this I’d like to think I am part of the new generation of women who don’t mind accepting help and compliments yet still being able to maintain independence. Thanks a lot Esther

    By precious mazibuko | 1 year ago Reply
  9. I love this article! I’ve heard the phrase that a man should “pursue you like a dying man looking for water in a desert”. This definitely holds men to a higher standard, but also women! I want to a a woman that type of man wants to chase, a woman after God’s own heart!!! That is the most important thing after all!

    By Jackie | 1 year ago Reply
  10. I guess my name gives way to my opinions about this 😉 your post is spot on especially with a lot of that “I’m trying to prove myself” mentality. I would say from the guy’s side not many of us have the courage to be chivalrous. Many people (men and women) think Chivalry is only used to get into a woman’s pants – nope. Chivalry is honor afforded to women just by the very fact that they are women – and it is rooted because of the work Our Lady has done.

    In all, I am born of a woman, the Church is the Mother of whom brings me the sacraments, and Our Lady Queen of heaven and earth redeemed Eve and sanctified the female gender with her fiat. Opening doors/giving up seats/jackets/never striking them are a show of knowing that women are deserving of that honor.

    This is something that was taught to me by my father and reinforced by the love of my mother. Good parenting is important as well as love and devotion of Our Lady. Really – true Chivalry should be rooted in Our Lady. I will be so bold to say – don’t date a man unless he has some devotion to Our Lady – even non-Catholic Christians ought to have a devotion as even Martin Luther STILL was very Marian when he broke off. What’s the saying: “watch how man treats his mother, that is how he will treat you”….

    Juust sayin’ 😉

    By Sir Jarred | 1 year ago Reply
    • Amen. ‘Nuff said. 🙂

      By Michelle | 1 year ago Reply
  11. A truly beautiful article! Thank you for writing this! This is definitely something I myself needed to hear and also many women need to hear! Esspecially in a world that is constantly putting messages out to women to take charge, be independent and basically that “we don’t need men” which isn’t true! We need great men of God and great men of chivalry! Take your guards down and let your self be pursued in a honorable Godly way!
    so beautifully written!

    By Allie | 1 year ago Reply
  12. Great post Esther, I just shared it on my Facebook for all the other fellow great Catholic single guys I know out there to read. I’m glad to know we are making a comeback and coming back in style.

    By Andy | 1 year ago Reply
  13. Chivalry died in the mud in 1415 at a place called Agincourt. Anyone that tries telling you otherwise is trying to sell you something. You have been warned.

    By R.P. Washburn | 1 year ago Reply
    • Agincourt was before Joan D´Arc. Chivalry dies periodically, but great women inspire it again. But only men with hearts and brains can be inspired.

      By José Fanjul | 1 year ago Reply

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