“A gentleman is someone who does not know what he wants to do, but what he should do.” Regardless of your views on chivalry, acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami nicely summarizes his views on gentlemanly behavior.
This article will try to ask the question, how does certain actions relate to what is chivalrous behavior?
What is chivalry in a relationship?
As this etymology dictionary on chivalry explains, the chivalrous meaning comes from the French word “chevalier,” which essentially means a mounted horseman or knight. Whilst that might sound grand and spectacular, knights can be seen as essentially glorified thugs.
As this history review on chivalry explains, the code of chivalry was detailed back in the middle ages, around the 11th or 12th century, to keep some form of control over the knights. Through this code, they learned how to be chivalrous in order to keep their status.
In those days, it quickly evolved to meaning to protect those around them. The concept of what is chivalrous was particularly for women who were especially vulnerable back then.
Although, chivalry isn’t so much about protection as it is about being honorable, generous, and gallant. How you then apply that is up to you.
What does it mean if a guy is chivalrous?
These days, the chivalry definition in dating can be applied in the same way. So, a chivalrous man is kind, generous, and attentive.
If he has learned that attitude, you can also assume that he’s matured from simply thinking about himself to being able to put others before him.
Of course, there are other traits that show maturity, as this therapist’s article on maturity in a relationship describes. Nevertheless, reviewing the concept of what is chivalrous is a good start. Essentially, you can’t be truly honorable and generous if you can’t look out for someone else’s needs as well as your own.
Chivalry in a relationship demonstrated with 3 examples
Typical chivalry examples include opening doors for women, helping them with their coats, or pulling out chairs for them. All of these might have been logistically desirable in medieval times when women wore awkward dresses, but these days, chivalry can come in many forms.
If you remember that the intention of chivalry is not to protect but to honor and respect, these examples might feel more natural in today’s world. First, asking where she wants to go for dinner and reaching a compromise.
A second example might be to send her the book she’s been meaning to buy rather than the obligatory flowers that don’t need much thought.
A third example of what is chivalrous could be spending time with her family and sitting through family jokes and photo albums. In short, chivalrous actions show you care.
What do the rules and definitions of chivalry look like today?
The chivalry meaning in a relationship doesn’t just apply to men. Women can also be honorable and generous. If you look out for your partner’s needs as much as your own, you will naturally become chivalrous.
5 ways to be more chivalrous in your relationship
If you are looking for tips to become more chivalrous, in terms of its current definition, here are some tips that can help you:
1. Show care and attention
How to be chivalrous is about paying attention to the other partner. So, when do they need help getting their coat because their minds are in overdrive, and they risk forgetting it?
Gratitude goes a long way in looking out for each other and demonstrating what is chivalrous. To give you an inspiring example, it even helped a psychologist in her fight against cancer, as she explains in this TED talk:
3. Tokens of love
Love doesn’t just come through touch or small gifts but also in action. For example, women can also offer to drive so that their male counterparts can rest if they’ve had a long day.
Chivalry towards a woman also means asking for nothing in return. So, be polite and respectful because it’s who you are and not because of some ulterior motive.
5. Be loyal and authentic
Chivalry in a relationship has to feel natural if it’s going to honor the original intent of being kind and courteous. That isn’t always easy, though, because it means letting go of the need to constantly prioritize ourselves.
Here are the answers to some pressing questions that can help clear out your doubts regarding the often controversial subject of chivalry:
How do love and chivalry combine?
Chivalry towards a woman was originally a set of rules to guide men in courting and seducing women. Of course, women still want to be treated with kindness and care, but they also want equality in most cases.
So, chivalry in love means being aware of both kindness and mutual respect.
Do wives want chivalry in marriage?
Like everything, it all comes down to definition and context. So, what does chivalrous mean? If it means treating women with honor and generosity, then yes, chivalry in marriage is key.
If, however, it’s about one-upmanship over women, then generally, no, women don’t tend to enjoy feeling inferior. Instead, what is chivalrous has to be about listening to each other.
How does chivalry towards a woman show up?
Chivalry in a relationship can be anything from saying thank you to taking care of the loose ends in the house. Essentially, it’s about looking out for her needs as much as for yours.
Embracing chivalry in your relationship
Most people understand what is chivalrous differently. It usually sits on a scale where at one end, it’s an antiquated form of conduct to keep women inferior.
On the other end, it’s a way of treating each other with mutual care and understanding, whether they are men or women. In the end, it all comes down to communication and how we work together to define the behaviors we expect.
In some cases, that means turning to relationship counseling. Often, we need a guide to bring us back to common ground and definitions that work for both partners.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships Read more and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.
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