Today I watched an elderly man open his wife’s car door. This occurs millions of times a day right? It’s a rather mundane and innocuous gesture to be sure. However, I was instantly flooded with thoughts and emotions about it. I wondered why, this act triggered, this symbolism of chivalry had provoked me so. Did he open her door out of obligation or respect? Had he always done this?
I posed this question to my fiancé. He too had noticed “Door Opening Gate” as he so playfully labeled it. He said that he didn’t think anything of the act because he opens doors for me constantly that is unless he can’t fit into the space between parked cars. You see he’s 6’3 ½” tall and weighs 240 pounds. Not actually a tinkerbell so he gets a pass on occasion.
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After a long pause, (he processes internally first before he speaks. This process makes me crazy but that’s a whole other article.) My fiancé told me that he taught his daughter that if the man in her life didn’t respect her enough to open her door that she should not entertain the idea of dating him. He also stated that more men don’t do it because many women don’t expect it. If women wanted it, men would do it. Period!!
At that moment, I knew why I was so stung by this gesture. That elderly man respected his wife. She meant enough for him to respect her. After all these years, (I assumed that the had been together for eons) he still loved and respected her enough to continue to open doors for her.
I have equated that respect is directly attributed to worth. Not just any worth but my worth. After this personal revelation, I asked my fiancé if he respected me. Again with the pause then he said, “Not only do I respect you I love you. You are my girl now and forever.”
Chivalry represents different things to different people. My interpretation may not be for everyone. I totally understand that. All I can say it that I would much rather the man in my life respect and love me than do something out of obligation.
When something is done out of obligation, you will hear about it again. Trust me. Obligatory acts breed contempt and animosity. Conversely, when you do something out of respect and love, you want the recipient to have something better because it’s heartfelt.
After we concluded our discussion about chivalry, we drove on to our next destination. While leaving the parking lot, I saw a couple holding hands. I again asked my fiancé what he thought about that act. Again with the pause. We have so got to work on that.
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