One of the biggest complaints I hear from single women navigating our modern day dating world is that they feel there are no quality men left, all the good ones are taken and they have resigned to the fact that chivalry is dead. In some ways, I feel as though this lack of gallantry we so desire is because over time women have, without realizing it, settled for less. Perhaps they haven’t received the love, attention and gentlemanly actions or mindfulness from men that they so desire, and as a result they’ve just bought into the lie that those kinds of men don’t exist, and if they do, are very hard to find. While there is no blame here, it’s important for both men and women to take responsibility of their own contributions.
As a woman who was raised to be self-sufficient, independent and capable, I have to remind myself daily to lean back into my feminine energy and allow it to shine though. It almost feels like an undoing of what many of us have been taught especially female business professionals who are expected to negotiate, take charge and be a leader. What is feminine energy exactly? It is an allowing, receiving, gentleness and relaxed sense of being vs. the more control-oriented role of masculine energy which is focused on doing, planning, protecting, solving and power. It doesn’t mean that women are or should be passive. However, a masculine man by nature will want to please the woman of his affection, he has an innate drive to do so. You can imagine then that if what he offers is rejected, he’ll feel as if he cannot make her happy or she doesn’t want, need or value his desire to be a gentleman. The more we behave in a loving, gentle and feminine way, the more it will encourage a man to act in his own loving, protective and masculine ways which we women crave. This does not diminish our level of competence, intelligence or strength to essentially be the capable ladies we are, it simply gives him space to be the man he needs to be who desires to love, protect, appreciate, respect and take care of his lady.
It should be every lady’s goal to find and align herself with her equal counterpart- a gentleman. I believe there are 4 key ways we as women can encourage the men in our life to act more gentlemanly and I’m going to break them down for you today.
1. Be a Lady- There is no greater motivation for a man to be a gentleman than when he is in the company of a true lady. While many men go out of their way to impress women during the first few dates and in the beginning of a relationship only to see that diminish over time once he’s comfortable, a true gentleman does it from the heart and will continue to do so such as opening the car door for his wife decades into their marriage. He feels a sense of pride in treating women in this way when they are soft, delicate and little-girl-like in moments, speak with a gentle tone, smile, put an effort into their appearance and use good manners.
2. Create Opportunities for Him to Be a Gentleman- Sometimes the best thing in life is to remain silent and quietly observe, step back and wait to see his next move. Allow him the opportunity to take your coat, help you zip up your dress, offer to pump gas at the gas station instead of leaping to do it on your own. We know we’re capable of doing such things for ourselves, however there is a joy in experiencing our man doing these things for us, it feels good to be cared for.
3. Be an Encouragement- When we compliment him on what he does that makes us feel good, special or feminine or what is such a huge help ultimately making our life easier (such as cleaning your car or giving you a neck massage), he will naturally want to do more. Positive feedback is what lets your man know what is important to you and where he should spend his efforts. Also a word about comparing him to others (the opposite of sharing your gratitude), avoid ever making him feel that he has to live up to expectations of another. Citing all the wonderful things your best friend’s husband does will not motivate him, it will irritate him. Nobody likes to be compared to someone else.
4. Raise Young Ladies & Gentleman-Just as important as it is to teach boys ‘ladies first’, to hold the door, open a car door or to take a coat from a girl, likewise we must also encourage and remind our little girls to be receptive and thankful to those boys who are little gentlemen in training. I’m not suggesting that we focus on male and female roles where boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls, but in how we treat one another, how we dress, how we receive gifts or someone’s kind gestures.
There is a lot to be said about allowing a man to lead. I love my sweetie to feel like a man because it’s sexy and allowing him to take charge makes him feel good about himself also, whether it’s choosing the restaurant or setting up plans for a date, offering up his seat in a crowded space (to me or another such a pregnant or elderly woman), and just trusting his judgement and expertise in certain areas such as leaning back and letting him negotiate with the sales people while purchasing a new car. Even though we know we’re capable, when we go back in history, it’s important to recall that men have always been hunter-gatherers, it is in their DNA. I don’t know about you but I enjoy the differences and ways men and women can compliment one another.
In what ways do you inspire chivalry in men? Have you found that your praise and gratitude towards his gentlemanly behavior has made your man want to own that role even more?