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First published in St George Health and Wellness Magazine August 2015 written by Jeff Sherman

Romance is a beautiful thing. Magical actually. And every woman deserves it. I have learned much over the years and can attest that the “little things” mean everything in a relationship. Today, I write about chivalry, the gracious and well mannered actions in one’s character.

Chivalry improves your romantic side. It fosters love, tenderness, and passion. It shows up in various ways and is always beneficial. It strengthens, builds, and edifies. Chivalry can be learned. Following are some influential ways to improve one’s chivalry.

Listen intentlyShermanSpeaks Art

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Listening is the most influential activity in one’s relationship. Listening is an art. It is here that you learn her love language. By listening you discover her needs, her aspirations, dreams, and longings. You gain insights into her favorite life moments. You learn what makes her tick. Listening awakens trust and insures communication.

Do you listen intently? Do you refine your listening skills? Consider how improved listening skills might impact your relationship. Listening is one of the kindest and most noble gifts of chivalry. It requires patience. It requires placing your needs second and hers first. She wants you to listen. By so doing you will open her heart. You will become earnestly aware of the woman inside.

A business associate of mine never speaks over his wife. He acknowledges her comments, pauses afterwards to allow her to continue if she wishes, and then he speaks. Can you imagine such a gift of respect? In turn, she supports his thoughts with the same conduct. I always enjoy their company. I want to be more like them in that aspect.

Try this practice. After being away from one another, greet her enthusiastically, especially at the end of the day, and then listen. Just listen. Avoid fixing, correcting, or reshaping the conversation. Just listen. Respond and acknowledge her words. Nod. Smile. Be intent. You will discover something wonderful. Mentally plan and practice the chivalry of listening. This alone could improve your relationship.

Do the dishes, fold the laundry

When was the last time you cheerfully and ambitiously jumped in and did the dishes or folded the laundry? It is appropriate to recognize that household chores, rather in the yard or in the home, are the responsibility of all who reside therein. Above responsibility is the pure satisfaction of serving one another. Seeking out ways to help someone will expand your ability to express commitment and devotion to that person. We all have things we would rather do it seems. What if we would rather help than not? What if we would rather surprise someone with a completed chore rather than serve our own self interest?

An acquaintance of mine recently shared that he attempted to assist his wife with the laundry only to be informed that he was doing it wrong. At first he was offended and removed himself from helping. Later, he determined that he would learn instead the correct ways of folding the clothes thus supporting the methods of his spouse. He would practice chivalry rather than rivalry.

Make a list

Make a list of ways you can let others know that you love them. Use this list to determine good, better, and best practices.

Make her dinner? Yes, good. Including a single rose on the table; better. Washing the dishes afterward expecting nothing in return; best. Remember, do things “just because” and leave it at that. When you are kind with no ulterior motive, both love and chivalry flourish.

Maintain a clean and tidy bathroom? Yes, good. After shaving, rinsing and drying the sink with a towel; better. Occasionally leaving a love note? Best.

Here is a fun tip. Typically, in her make-up bag, she has an eye liner that is nearly used up. This tiny pencil makes a great writing tool for creating a love note on the bathroom mirror (never use her newest eye liner, the result is not good). Above the sink you might write a short note using her nickname “Look at this beautiful face! I love you, sweetie.” Be sure to purchase a new eye pencil and place it on the counter with a small ribbon tied around it. She will realize the trouble you went to in leaving the note and she will feel very special and sought after.

Filling her car with gasoline unexpectedly? Yes, good. Washing her car in addition; better. Placing her favorite beverage in the drink holder; best. Providing a car full of gas says, “I enjoy helping you.” Washing her car says, “I respect you.” Including her beverage says, “I love you.”

If you need to leave town for business and your spouse typically retrieves the mail while you are away, consider mailing her a random love note that she is sure to receive early in your absence. Good. Including an old photo of the two of you when you were first dating; better. In addition to the photo, including two reserved tickets to her favorite event dated shortly after you return and stating “I can’t wait to see you again.” Best.

Come home to each other happily. Sure, both of you work hard. Life is exhausting at times. But remember, lifting one another and reassuring one another makes the evening more restful. Happiness in relationships is found in the moments not the weeks, months, or years.

Now, think of some things you would like to do for her and ask yourself if it is good, better, or best. Expect nothing in return. Practice chivalry. Start slowly and subtly. Stay within your budget. It isn’t about the money. Its about her. Some of the best times and gifts are not purchased. Spend quality time together. Help her. And make her laugh.

Romance is a beautiful magical thing.

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