Chivalry, Courtly Love, Romantic Love, and Marriage

Dalrock has lately been doing several posts attacking chivalry and courtly love as being anti-biblical and the beginning of wife worship and feminism.

Quoting from Dalrock’s post “Chivalry and biblical marriage can’t coexist.” Dalrock states:

“What Lewis is saying is that when we elevate romantic love to something moral, then marriage can no longer be moral. At that point marriage must bend to romantic love, not the other way around. This is you will notice our current view. It isn’t just about arranged marriage. If a woman marries someone she doesn’t love because she wants something else out of the transaction (power, money, etc), then she must be allowed to exit the marriage at will. And if she marries for love but later falls out of love, she must be allowed to exit the marriage at will. If marriage is seen as something moral, a real, binding commitment, then in order to glorify romantic love you have to glorify adultery. Chivalry and courtly love are the antithesis of biblical marriage. You can’t get around this by trying to bring chivalry/courtly love into marriage, because the logic remains the same. Either marriage has moral meaning, or romantic love has moral meaning; both cannot be the case.”

So I guess we have four different concepts here to juggle, to try to figure out how they relate to each other; chivalry, courtly love, romantic love, and marriage. Chivalry is elevating the woman above the man, placing women’s interests first. Courtly love is symbolic love, abstract love, pure love not contaminated with sex associated with emotional adultery; where the object of affection is a married woman who is therefore unavailable and distant because she is already married to another man. Romantic love is obviously strong romantic and sexual feelings for a woman. And then finally marriage; a lifetime romantic commitment between a husband and a wife.

Dalrock is making the claim that chivalry, courtly love, and romantic love itself is the enemy of marriage. Chivalry is oriented towards service and sacrifice on behalf of women, courtly love is loving women in an idealistic way, romantic love is emotional dependency upon a woman where the woman has the power to make you very happy with her approval or very unhappy with her disapproval. These things then are supposedly the enemy of marriage.

Marriage is based on the lifetime commitment of a man and woman together in a romantic partnership. Also in marriage the wife is supposed to obey her husband. Also the husband is supposed to serve and financially support his wife. Hopefully all of this actually being a happy experience for the man and the woman involved.

Romantic love is what makes the marriage happy and rewarding. Chivalry gets the man thinking in terms of his duty towards the woman. Courtly love, loving idealistically and abstractly, is helpful for the man’s idealistic and abstract purpose and higher goals in a marriage. All of these things it seems to me are helpful in getting a man ready for marriage. Yes it is true all of these things empower women, serve women’s interests, but they empower women in a good way.

I think Dalrock’s underlying negativity towards chivalry, courtly love, and romantic love itself is that these things serve to empower women’s interests which Dalrock equates with feminism.

Love is not the enemy of marriage, women’s interests or taking women’s needs into account is not the enemy of marriage either. Feminism is the enemy of marriage, women’s independent empowerment is the enemy of marriage. Women being powerful in relation to men is not the problem; women having independent self-asserted power against the man is the problem. A man loving a woman is fine, a man placing the woman’s interests above his own interests is fine, a man being idealistic is fine, a man valuing a woman because he is in love with the woman is also fine. The important thing is that the man remain in control; that he places God and his duty to God first.

Marriage is based on men serving women. The purpose of marriage is men serving women or men taking care of women. Men’s romantic love for women being the emotional motivation for the man to serve the woman. Chivalry being an ideological foundation of men’s duty to serve women. Courtly love being oriented towards serving women from a different perspective, the more distant abstract idealistic perspective. Marriage then being the vehicle by which the man dedicates his life in service to his wife.

The wife’s submission to her husband is for the purpose of enabling the husband to better serve his wife; to make it safe for the husband to dedicate himself to his wife and to make it so that the husband is serving his own goals and purposes by means of serving his wife so that the husband’s motivation in serving his wife will be maintained.

The man is dominant over his wife because the man is serving his wife; it is the man’s service to his wife that enables him to be dominant over his wife in the first place.

Dalrock states in regards to chivalry in his “Tackling the patriarchy, holding the door open for trannies.” post:

“The same is true for the progress that has been made in the church. Only an unchivalrous man would tell a woman she couldn’t teach, or divorce her husband, or have children out of wedlock, etc. If you’ve ever spoken out against feminism in the church, you’ve no doubt had an experience similar to Jock Semple, albeit with a metaphorical tackling instead of a literal one. But what matters is the impulse is the same. Feminism has relied on the chivalrous impulse every step of the way, even as feminists have expressed contempt for chivalry.”

Feminism is female controlled chivalry. Patriarchy is male controlled Chivalry. I advocate for male controlled Chivalry, I do not advocate for female controlled chivalry. How I “officially” define Chivalry Chivalry is necessarily male controlled as part of the overall social system of patriarchy; Chivalry is men’s duty under patriarchy; Chivalry is men’s duty to provide for and protect women.

Chivalry can be broadly thought of as placing women’s interests first. The thing is you can place women’s interests first in a feminist way or in a patriarchal way. Feminism and patriarchy are both “women first” but in feminism the woman is in control while under patriarchy the man is in control. Being “women first” or gynocentric is good and is common to both feminism and patriarchy; the thing is patriarchy brings men and women closer together while feminism drives men and women apart. Feminism is abusive to men while patriarchy is not. Under patriarchy the man can protect his own interests and protect the women’s interests at the same time; this mutuality of interests where the man and the woman are not competing with each other is what makes patriarchy work, is what makes patriarchy good.

Dalrock is presenting chivalry as something that is necessarily female controlled and feminist. This is bad because it tends to present anything that is directed towards women’s interests and women’s needs as being “chivalrous” and therefore open to feminist manipulation and pandering to women and weak.

Chivalry should instead be seen as part of patriarchy; indeed fundamental to patriarchy, the male side of patriarchy. Chivalry is the means by which a man claims dominance over a woman. Chivalry is powerful, dominant, strong, moral, and yes in service to women; there being no contradiction between serving women and being dominant over women; serving women indeed being the means by which one achieves dominance over women.

Also romantic love; romantic love is such a powerful force, especially during adolescence and early adulthood, it is hard to imagine that romantic love serves no purpose or even is a primarily negative thing that simply distracts us from virtue and duty. There is an interesting thing about romantic love, namely that it sorts women into a hierarchy. Some women you love strongly, others not so much, others not at all. Romantic love leads you to love one woman the most, your “oneitis” dream girl. In other words romantic love sets you up for commitment, it leads you to value one woman above all other women, the foundation of commitment. In addition there is a time hierarchy among your love partners; your early loves tend to be your strongest loves. As you get older and accumulate more prior partners your ability to fall in love again weakens. This again encourages commitment as you will not be able to love a new partner as much as the partner you are already with who came first that you bonded with at a younger age.

So romantic love is a means of choosing one woman over all other women enabling you to commit to that one woman to the exclusion of all others and romantic love forces you to stick with your early partner as the later partners you might be able to get you will love less.

Also, let’s be real. Don’t you want to love, to be in love with, your wife?

Related articles:
Romantic Love and Moral Values in Marriage
Marriage is what Legitimizes Romantic Love and Sex
The Value and Purpose of Oneitis

About Jesse Powell TFA

Anti-Feminist, MRA, Pro-Traditional Women's Rights Traditional Family Activist (TFA)
This entry was posted in Chivalry, Relationship Dynamics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Chivalry, Courtly Love, Romantic Love, and Marriage

  1. I am confused by his points too. I don’t think chivalry is opposed to a traditional marriage. I think the radical feminists hate the idea of needing a man in their lives and that marriage equals oppression. However, they hypocritically demand men give them special treatment in other ways and walk on eggshells not to offend them! The whole #metoo movement is a prime example! Nowadays, men must be servile and submissive to women in order to be deemed good men. I think the feminists are trying to “neutralize the threat”, so to speak by feminizing men in our society.

  2. A healed scorned woman says:

    I’m glad there is a #metoo movement because so many people have been sexually abused by others who abuse their power and now those abusers are finally being held accountable and hopefully that will deter others who think it is okay to be sexually abusive or abusive to others in general. Feminism came about because to many men abused their authority over women and were oppressive to them. But most women can appreciate men who are considerate of women without imposing their will on them. To me that is true chilvary.

  3. The metoo movement is not so cut and dried. It infantilizes women into helpless victims who don’t know how to stop advances, or were too naive like little children to realize when sexual exploitation i happening and say no. It’s unflattering and harsh to say, but many of these so called “victims” came out for some other personal gain than justice, considering they were silent for decades and let other women be victimized by their silence if the allegations were true. These grown women are not little children who don’t know better! They knew what they were getting into, to advance their careers by agreeing to have sex with the boss and didn’t have the integrity to walk away, even if it meant they had to take steps down in their careers. Sure, people need money to pay the bills, but what price is your dignity and virtue worth? I’d think more so than some promotion or some job. Plus, what about resources in place to report such unethical coercion? If they don’t listen the first time, keep speaking out. Other women were victimized by their silence for those decades! A real victim wants justice for themselves and others immediately, not 20 years down the road only when convenient! To say women are helpless against the advances of men, that they can be mentally overpowered like little children to have unwanted sex is a sexist insult to women. But then again, playing “helpless victim” absolves one of any personal responsibility for a wrong decision, like sleeping with the boss. Feminism, apparently only works when the privilege is to the woman, but never hold the “empowered” woman responsible for empowering herself to say “NO!”. Unless he’s holding you down as you scream, you can walk away and say “no” to being coerced into sexual exploitation. Or are we to say women can also be MENTALLY overpowered as well by men like little children? #NotMe!

  4. NoTrueCatholic says:

    On chilvalry versus christian marriage, I advice to read the (catholic, full disclosure) book “liberating marriage in an age of heresy – St Hildegard Of Bingen and reform in the twelfth century” By Reid J Turner.

    It quotes C.S Lewis (which is protestant), in “the allegory of Love : a study of medieval tradition”
    Marriage has nothing to do with love, and no “nonsense” about marriage was tolerated. All matches were matches of interest, and, worst still, of an interest that was continually changing. When the alliance which had answered would answer no longer, the husband’s object was to get rid of the lady as quickly as possible. … So far from being a channel for the new kind of love, marriage was rather the drab background against which that love stood out in all the contrast of its new tenderness and delicacy”

    Love was not part of marriage before the 10th century. Church fought against forced marriages (and also divorce) and made consent the core of the validity of marriage (both as contract and sacrament). It had to fight for that (and also against divorce). One thesis defended by Turner is that adultery (of the courtly love song/stories) was not so adulterous because those marriage were invalid. They were propaganda against invalid/forced marriage and for loveful/voluntary lifelong christian marriage. And considering Protestantism, the renaissance love for roman pagan patriarchy, French revolution, Napoleon pushed toward a different view of patriarchy in many cases, the subject has remained very present until not so long ago in Western world.

    I need to read Lewis study on that subject, and some other source. So I am by no mean any expert on the scholarship on the subject. But if you want to find defense of courtly love, I advice those two books. I can give more information on such theory and scholarship if you want.

    Precision : arranged marriage is not forced marriage, the latter only was condemned, not the former. In case people not used to the difference read this comment.

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