Chivalry: Part 10 - First Class

“…and he praises her."

The power of words is without limits. A heart can be crushed or a heart can be healed, and it all turns on a few simple words. The easiest thing to see in another person is their faults, even though faults are the toughest thing to find in ourselves. So the work of a man is to dig below the surface, to find in his wife her greatest attributes–every woman has them. Chivalry is the result of a man who looks below surface irritants, who navigates around the many obvious faults and mines out those qualities about our wife that are truly worthy of praise. And when a man has these choice qualities in hand, he holds them up in front of her and says “you are first class, babe. Let me show you and tell you why”. 

This is a tough discipline for any man. It’s most easy to focus on failings–that comes naturally. To have thoughts of your wife that are full of affection can warm your heart but, if it’s never spoken, can leave her heart cold. And broad, general statements of praise can feel like a generic greeting card–cheap and unmoving. So real men take the initiative. We don’t wait for a mutual praise session, we start a praise session, because “he praises her.” Wise and chivalrous men do this work because the payoff is amazing. What we say about our wife will directly impact the trajectory of her life. A genuinely spoken word of praise can give birth to several more attributes that are primed and ready to grow if watered with encouragement. When a woman feels like she’s first class, things we’ve never seen begin to blossom.

But there are three concentric circles of praise for our bride. Praise must begin from the inside and work it’s way out.

Private Praise - Tell her when you’re all alone how much she means to you. A godly woman doesn't need to be praised in front of people. She needs most to be praised in front of you. One word of praise spoken alone but straight to her heart, holds more power than pages of praise spoken before men. 

Family Praise - Nothing can honor our wife or help our kids more than a man who praises his wife in front of his children. With each word of praise, it’s like branding a legacy of life and love into the doorposts of our home. When our kids see dad giving mom praise, it’s only natural that they’ll learn to do the same.

Public Praise - There comes a time when we can go public with praise. It’s powerful when praise is the overflow of what she already knows we believe. Public praise is not for mending what is broken in private or for making up for what we’ve not said when we’re alone. Real men let praise flow in public as a final relational topping on a praise party that began in private.

A woman measures our class when we treat her like she’s first class. Chivalry lives beyond what the average guy can deliver. It’s work, but praise is worth all the investment.