Chivalry – Fr. Leo Kinsella


From The Wife Desiredby Fr. Leo Kinsella, 1950’s

Although sex is an important aspect of marriage, yet it is really a small part. Especially is this true in the marriages where all is well as regards sex. The companionship of marriage is what brings the real fullness of peace and contentment to a couple. And after all, peace and contentment are the real day in and day out ingredients of happiness.

The full flaming moments of ecstasy of love, rocketing a soul into the very presence of God, are few and far between for the average mortal. These moments are cherished as a glimpse of eternal things to come. Now we have not even the capacity to long endure them.

A human being is not very self-sufficient. A person needs others to fill the emptiness of his own being. Husband and wife fill this need for each other. They complement each other in this manner much more even than they do in any physical sense.

There is something beautiful about the companionship of man and wife as it bridges the years. Especially is this true for those who have kept something of the chivalry of the first days of their love.

Familiarity does not have to breed contempt. Perhaps it does among savages. The natural, easy familiarity between man and wife, springing from their daily companionship can easily remain, and does in very many instances, a fine influence in their lives.

All wives appreciate the little courtesies of respect and esteem from their husbands. Some do nothing to promote this attitude on the part of their husbands. A lady will receive attention and courtesy if she merits it, and if she is gracious enough to acknowledge the efforts of the male.

By nature a man has a deep-seated sense of respect, of chivalry for the lady. It does something for him to manifest this feeling. It helps to make him a better man.

At an early age, I was somewhat disillusioned about the female in this matter of chivalry. During high school years I rode the “E-l” in Chicago during the morning rush hour.
I shall never forget my first efforts to be courteous with the female passengers. I was almost trampled to death. It was impossible to show these women any deference. They had become callous. For them life was a matter of dog eat dog. They shoved and gouged and grabbed any preference before a man could offer it to them.

A man on the “E-l” during the rush hour had about as much opportunity to be chivalrous as a polite hog at a trough has of getting in a bite.

I have often wondered what kind of wives those little ladies became. Perhaps they were tired or confused at being thrown into the vortex of the economic struggle for survival. In a saner world they would have been at home, where the true nobility of their lives could find its proper environment for growth.

Intelligent couples never take each other for granted. Of course there is a natural easiness and relaxation in each other’s company shutting out any stiffness or lack of intimacy. The bright husband will never relinquish the prerogative of being a gentleman.

Thoughtfulness is his watch word. A kindness here and a consideration there go a long way to promote companionship with his wife. The opening of a car door for her, helping her with her coat, seating her at table, these and a dozen other little actions evidence his tenderness for her. She is precious to him, so he surrounds her with attentions.

What wife could be so dull as not to yearn for such interest? Then she makes an unobtrusive but very real effort to keep for her married life the chivalry of her days of courtship.

Many married couples never lose the evidence of chivalry and romance of their days of courtship. Actually all their married lives they court each other. So blessed with this disposition they walk through life leading each other to their eternal reward in loving companionship.

“When marriage and parenthood seem difficult, picture yourself with your spouse as an old couple who, just before you hear the Master’s summoning call, look back along the road you have traveled. That road did not seem nearly so rough when you were leaning heavily upon each other. You faced threatening enemies on the way with stronger courage because you fought side by side. Courage sprang from knowing that you did not work or walk alone.” -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook


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With his facile pen and from the wealth of his nation-wide experience, the well-known author treats anything and everything that might be included under the heading of home education: the pre-marriage training of prospective parents, the problems of the pre-school days down through the years of adolescence. No topic is neglected. “What is most praiseworthy is Fr. Lord’s insistence throughout that no educational agency can supplant the work that must be done by parents.” – Felix M. Kirsch, O.F.M.




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