My family of 6 just returned from vacation. During that trip, I learned a lot about my family because I paid a little more attention to conversations around me than I usually do.
My husband spent the entire trip treating my daughter and me like absolute princesses. Honestly, he wasn’t doing anything different than he usually does. He opened the door for us, and he had himself and the boys unload the car when we got there. Every day when we all got back sandy, salty, and sticky from swimming in the ocean, he would let everyone know that she and I would be first to shower because, “Ladies go first.” He really treated us with such honor despite the eye rolls from the boys. Two out of the three days, my husband took last shower. I’m sure he was cold and uncomfortable, but he gladly volunteered to let everyone else go before him.
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other (Romans 12:10).
I don’t typically read a book more than one time, but there are some that I could read over and over again. An example of that type of book for me is one I re-read during this trip, GodChicks and the Men They Love by Philip and Holly Wagner. I highly recommend it whether you are single or married. In chapter 6, Philip talks about honor, and it was interesting that I read this particular chapter during this trip and realized how much my husband was honoring our kids and me.
“A great way to express honor is to communicate admiration. Verbalize your acceptance; express how and why you value him, his vision, his dreams, his incredible work ethic, the way he loves your children. When you do, there’s a good chance that you’ll bring new life to the relationship,” (p. 116).
This is exactly what my husband had been doing for me the whole trip, and of course I felt like I was #1 in his life! My daughter was learning what it means to be treated with honor, and she was able to see that chivalry is not dead. I hope she’s learning from him that she doesn’t settle for less than that in a relationship.
On the Flip Side
Let’s turn it around, though. We also have 3 boys who were with us, and one, in particular, verbalized his frustration on the last day. Baby girl got her things settled in and around her seat in the car, and then she sat down (as did the 3 boys). I started to help my husband load the car and made a comment about how I was never very good at Tetris, and I always view packing as a real-life Tetris game. He joked about how he wasn’t very good at it either. Then, he did the unthinkable, which set one of the boys off.
He said something about it being a man’s job, and he and the boys would take care of loading the car so I could go ahead and get settled in. I laughed at the “man’s job” comment, which he was clearly joking about, but it was another way of showing he wanted to serve and honor me.
Then, he asked the boys to come and help, and they reluctantly got out saying that we are capable of helping and complaining about how they had to do everything while the girls (mainly the youngest child) “never had to do anything.”
The conversation got heated as they talked about how they would never act like this with their girlfriends and how their girlfriends and future wives would be helping with things like this and how their girlfriends and future wives can wait for them to shower first, etc.
Y’all . . . my mom heart went from feeling honored to wondering how I had 3 boys with this way of completely selfish thinking.
I told them how the fact that chivalry did not die with my husband is one of the reasons I fell in love with him, and I explained the importance of keeping it alive, but it fell on deaf ears.
It’s All About Honoring One Another
I am the first to say the Women’s Lib stuff is not my thing. I should have been born decades earlier because I love the 50s woman. I love the idea of being June Cleaver, the woman who takes care of the home, her kids, and her man. That’s what I love to do. Am I saying that’s the only right way to live? Absolutely not! I am saying that’s who I want to be, and that’s the way I try to serve and honor my husband.
My husband shows me honor by doing exactly what he was doing this weekend, and clearly culture is against the chivalrous man who puts his wife first and treats her like she’s a delicate flower. The girls of our culture think it’s degrading to be treated like a delicate flower, and boys of our culture feel like they’re being disrespected if they aren’t first in all things. My husband knows I’m perfectly capable of loading a car, waiting to shower, and opening a door for myself. He has seen me throw punches at men twice my size (Krav Maga – not because I was mad) as well as take punches from them. He has seen me bait my own hook before fishing and fix a broken, greasy chain on a bicycle (several times). He has seen me get down and do some dirty work.
He knows I’m capable, and he knows I’m not going to break if I help out.
But he also knows how to lead by example, love with genuine affection, and delight in honoring me (Rom. 12:10). In doing all of these things over this trip, he has served our children by showing them how a man honors his wife. He has honored his children by choosing to go last when we all wanted to go first. He served and honored me, not just in private, but in front of our children.
We have to decide as Christ-followers that we will not let culture speak louder than scripture. We have to teach our children the way God tells us to live so it will continue through the generations. Don’t be afraid to stand out and do things differently than what our culture says to do.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you,” (Romans 12:2 MSG).