The Scriptures talk about being faithful in the little things before being rewarded with greater things. And, on the flip side, I have heard it said that it is ultimately the little things that kill a marriage. The latter point I have heard first hand from a number of people whose marriage unfortunately did not make it.
Then there is the sense that I have of the relationship between Our Lady and St. Joseph. Remember, St. Joseph carries those lilies for a reason! His heart was pure, and he remained a virgin until his death. Thus the lilies in the hand of the most gracious gentleman in human history. But also consider that he lived with, worked for, and protected one of the most beautiful Women in human history, the Mother of our Lord!
If single, then Our Lady should figure prominently as the model of how to treat the ladies around you. Treat them as you would treat Our Lady. If married, then the eyes and heart of St. Joseph should take prominence in the treatment of your wife.
Here are some practical suggestions of some of the little things that one can do to let your significant other know that they are loved and respected:
- Open any and all doors that you can for her.
- For a car that has a remote, unlock the doors, but still approach with her on the passenger side and open the door for her. This also gives you a chance to check the car to make sure it is safe. Once she is seated, close the door and make sure it is secure.
- If I am carrying Anne-Marie after we have gone together somewhere as a family, I will still open the door for Lucille and make sure she is seated comfortably before closing it.
- Drive safely while the family is in the car. They are the greatest treasures in the world. Drive safely when they are not in the car, we need to keep in mind that they need us to arrive home safe and sound. Take a defensive driving course.
- Make a point to put time aside for an evening date. Surprise her by making meal arrangements and perhaps researching a movie she would enjoy seeing. Arrange for the sitter if there is a need without her knowing. Candle-light dinners are a great way to cultivate the love and bond. Make a point to not talk about the kids if you have any!
- If artistically inclined, draw a little card with some words of love and devotion in it. If not, buy her a card that reflects who she is. Do this once in a while to let her know that she is thought of and loved.
- Every once in a while, not too regularly so that she can be surprised, buy her a dozen roses. If possible, bring them home when she is not around and arrange them for her so she will be pleasantly surprised.
- Cook a family meal on the weekend. If you don't know how to cook learn or take lessons. The lessons could be something that you do together too!
- After you have children, make a point to arrange to give her an afternoon off at least once a month. Have enough milk and anything that may be needed to keep the child(ren) comfortable. It will be good for her to get a break, and good for you as a father to bond with your child(ren).
- Once the kids are sleeping, put on a favourite song that you both enjoy and reach out to her and dance. Take dance lessons together, or join a dance club.
- Once the kids are sleeping, and you two are alone, take her hand and dance. Listen to your hearts for the music and rhythm of the dance.
- Or, cuddle up on the couch and sit quietly enjoying each other's presence. Watch the occasional movie together too.
- Hug her, kiss her, look into her eyes and show her with your eyes just how much you love her. Do this regularly, but not so much that you both become desensitized to the expression of love between you.
- (Slightly off topic and yet not) Start a tradition that the entire family hugs together! We call it a "Grug" or Group Hug. It's Grug time!
- Give her a hot rose oil foot massage. Those feet carry you and your children's entire world around on them. Take care of them!
- Give her your sweater or jacket if she is cold.
- When the cold season sets in, keep a blanket in the back seat of the car. On those cold evenings you can tuck the blanket around her legs and waist to keep her warm until the car is heated. If it is winter, you can wrap her up! She will appreciate this big time!
- Make a commitment to spend an hour a week in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to pray for her and for your family. If a Perpetual Adoration Chapel is not available, there will likely be a parish around that is open for prayer in the afternoons on a Saturday or Sunday. Most pastors would be happy to accommodate a request to spend time in prayer at the church.
- If health permits, fast for her once a week.
There are many other ways that one can be a chivalrous man. Ultimately, to me, it is important to cultivate in my life the needs that are important to Lucille. That means making timely (as the Lord calls) sacrifices for Lucille.
E5Men is a site dedicated to fasting for the women in a man's life.
Here is a definition of chivalry.
There are a couple of other items that came to me later. Both of them are very important:
- Help her with her to get her coat or sweater on.
- Affirm her. Make it a regular practice to tell her how good she is at being a great wife and mother.