I heard the gentle clank of a mug being placed on my bedside nightstand, and the strong aroma of fresh coffee hit my nostrils. Then, I heard the familiar gentle deep voice I’ve loved for three decades, the voice of my husband.
“Your coffee is beside you. It’s time to get up.”
I opened my eyes to a dark room and the shadow of my husband’s silhouette. He touched my face with his hand.
“Thank you,” I whispered. I picked up the hot mug and breathed in the steam. Ahh!
It is never easy to get up on cold winter mornings with the wind howling outside in the darkness, but my husband made it a bit easier today. I smile as I realize how David’s small act of sweet kindness has, once again, started my day out right.
He is my knight in so many ways, and has really taken to heart the job of a husband to provide and protect, not just for me but our little family, in both big and small ways. And I am grateful.
I recently read an article with the title “Eight Acts of Chivalry to Bring Back” by J. Sama. Right off the bat, I realized how blessed I am. Because of the men in my life, my husband, my sons, my brothers, father and brothers-in-law, I have little exposure to know that acts of chivalry are often missing in modern society.
Oh, I’ve noticed that some random man walking ahead of me at the YMCA may not stand to hold the door open as I approach, as they did in years past, but on a personal level, the men in my life have always been gentlemen supreme. And in talking with my friends, I hear much the same about their husbands and sons. We are so blessed!
For the young men reading Today’s Catholic who are not yet educated in such matters, or for wonderful, hard-working husbands who may have forgotten, or for mothers who want to train their sons, I’ll offer the list of chivalrous acts that women appreciate.
Like most acts of courtesy and kindness, these chivalrous acts reflect the character of the one doing them, regardless of how they are received. So, it is always appropriate for men to do them, even if one individual female may not show gratitude for their thoughtfulness. Doing so reveals a strong, manly character.
The chivalrous acts mentioned in the aforementioned article were (with my comments following):
• Giving up your seat for a woman when seating is limited. This includes at Mass, in a meeting, on public transportation.
• Pulling out a woman’s chair when she is about to sit down. Husbands do this for their wives and single men for their dates of course, but sons should also do this for their mothers, brothers for their sisters, and fathers for their daughters.
• Opening doors for a woman (any woman). And women, don’t forget to smile and say, “Thank you!” It saddened me when I heard about one of my sons opening the door for a fellow student and she screeched, “I don’t need your help! I can do that myself!” How ungrateful.
• Calling, not texting for a date. Single men, this is imperative. Married men, while your wives will appreciate you setting up a date no matter how you do it, a phone call is always nicer than getting the message electronically.
• Complimenting. Find something you sincerely like about your wife or girlfriend (or sister or grandmother) and tell her. (Here’s a secret — not only will it be appreciated and motivate her to be better or work harder at whatever it is you are complimenting her about, but you are rightfully perceived as being appreciative and kind. Hint: Win/win.)
• Walking on the street side of the sidewalk. The original reason for this is to be willing to ‘take the splash’ from a car driving through a puddle or protect her from being hit. I read of one modern woman, however, who said, “In my culture the men do it to protect their wives/sisters/daughters from other men’s improper calls or advances. It is literally to show that she “does not walk alone.” Nice.
• (For the single fellows) On a date, walking her to the door rather than just dropping her off. Conversely, I might add, go up to the door when you go to pick her up. Don’t text “I’m here,” and expect her to come out. And certainly don’t honk! Please.
• Dropping her off at an entrance if you have to park far away.
I would also like to add:
• Helping her in and out of her coat or sweater.
Our faith should shine through all our actions with love and joy, kindness and gratitude. What better way for Catholic men to respect the women in their lives than by doing chivalrous acts? And what better way for Catholic women to respect their men than by showing appreciation?
When women act like ladies, men are more likely to act like gentlemen. That’s good food for thought too.