The code of chivalry associated with the medieval institution of knighthood emphasized bravery, courage, honor, valor, justice, military skill, generosity, a readiness to help the weak, and courtesy to women.
The term “chivalry” originates from the term for horseman in French, because the horseman (later the “knight”) had to be self-disciplined to take care of his horse, his fellow man, and his king. His caretaking was manifested by his willingness to go to war, but at least as much by his willingness to take care of all others who did not have the strength to take care of themselves. (Wiki mentions the widow, the child and the elder. Other sources add “the woman” to this list.) Many women need men for a certain type of care, but not because they’re helpless, but rather because they want to grow in certain ways through their relationship with men.
While we can argue about what the term “chivalry” originally meant and how it has been used in the past, in current popular usage it refers to courteous—and to some, old-fashioned—behavior of men towards women. Chivalrous men open doors for women, give a woman their coat if the woman is cold, and protect a woman from harm, for example, by blocking the path of a drunken man on the street bent on accosting the woman. The chivalrous man is a man of honor.
To some, chivalry implies that women are the weaker sex and in need of male protection. Women aren't supposed to need men, and women who love chivalry and willingly and proudly agree that they need men are deemed to be beneath contempt. Feminists refer to women who need men as “damsels in distress” because they wrongly assume that women who desire strong men do so because they are intellectually weak and thus unable to think and act for themselves. Some feminist critics of chivalry despise chivalrous men on the grounds that the chivalrous men (allegedly!) prefer weak women, or are trying to keep women weak and helpless through their chivalry. Chivalrous men are paternalistic oppressors, harming women by being courteous and kind to them and by protecting them. What man other than a weak man would prefer a weak woman or want to keep women weak, they ask.
But feminists have this wrong. Imagine saying to a noble knight of yore that he is weak because he is willing to die for his country or to protect the widow. When you cannot immediately change your irrational instinct to avoid personal harm at all costs (and so your instinct is to act selfishly), a willingness to nonetheless sacrifice oneself in defense of moral probity is no weakness, it is the highest virtue. It comes from determination, strength, and will. Chivalry brings the kind of tenacity that leads soldiers to fight in noble wars and less glamorously but no less importantly husbands to do whatever it takes to ensure that their wife is cared for and that their marital relationship is nurtured, regardless of the vicissitudes of his or her immediate feelings.
Many women love a modern knight who embodies this steadfast tenacity to defend what is good, for example, in the marriage relationship even when things are tough. Taken In Hand is a modern day celebration of the man who puts his wife and their relationship first and dares to set things right in his family when there is a problem.
That’s why life in a Taken In Hand relationship is precisely not difficult and indeed is downright enjoyable and fun. If you are willing to put in the effort required to make your marriage a Taken In Hand one, you too will find that your marriage will become more fun, more passionate, and a source of more joy. A tuned car is a joy to drive.
According to some authorities, men tend to feel more love for their wife the more they do for their wife. Some in the manopshere warn against chivalry precisely because of this. Being in love with a woman gives her power over you, they say. Be desireless, and you have more power. Feel indifferent, and you have more power. Don't do things for a woman, because it will make you love her more, and if you love her more, you will be in a weaker position. Bring her down so that you are relatively stronger. Diminish her power to give yourself relatively more power.
There is some truth in such contentions. Weaker men might indeed feel the need to protect themselves by taking action to diminish their love and reduce the power their woman has over them, but at what cost? Those who know the intense pleasure and contentment of passionate love for the good woman who is their wife would laugh at the absurdity of the idea that they would be better off if they were not in love with their wife.
It may be easy for me to say, as a strong man who is both passionately in love with my wife and firmly in charge my my wife, but I think that weak men would be better advised to make a concerted effort to work towards becoming stronger themselves rather than taking the negative, dishonorable path of diminishing the good things that give their woman a little power. The power you give her through your chivalrous actions, by being in love with her and through your fidelity, can be balanced and easily exceeded by being her lord and master, taking and keeping her firmly in hand. A strong man does not need to diminish his wife or his love for his wife. A strong man can be chivalrous, passionately in love and faithful to his wife and still have enormous power over his wife.
Devote effort to making yourself stronger if necessary. If you choose instead to avoid chivalry, fidelity and passionate love, you will actually be weakening yourself as a man and diminishing your pleasure, passion and enjoyment in your marriage, and sooner or later you will become dissatisfied in that barren wasteland.
If you are as yet unmarried, again, my advice is to make yourself the strongest, most morally, honorably powerful man you can be, so that you will never have to diminish or mistreat women to give yourself the toxic, empty, and ultimately unsatisfying power of pseudo-strength. When you have the steadfast strength to love a woman passionately and faithfully and to master her firmly and decisively, only then seek the woman who will be your Taken In Hand wife.
The physical manifestations of taking a woman in hand are overtly sexual but for moral purposes. In the context of a marital commitment of husband and wife, neither can refuse the other for long the transcendent moments of sexual intimacy that anneals the bond between them, because each must be open to the other. And yes the man will enforce this intimacy with no more swagger then he exhibits when tuning his car. It just makes the marriage run smoothly.
The confidence that both have in each other—because of the noble steadfastness of the modern knight—allows his wife to relax and the man to drive.
Men who take their women in hand are very well aware that their women can be physically strong and even more frequently intellectually vigorous. They wouldn’t have it any other way. Like the country he is also willing to protect, she’s the best. A woman of valor worthy of her knight.
The concept of chivalry includes the concept of courtly love, involving a marriage of spiritual discipline and erotic desire in the knight who possessed it. According to Wiki's citation of Francis Newman, it is a love that was “illicit and morally elevating, passionate and disciplined, humiliating and exalting, human and transcendent.” That is a good description of the love in a Taken in Hand marriage. Indeed, Taken In Hand has improved on the old idea of courtly love, by bringing the eroticism firmly into the marriage, annealing the marital relationship with the white hot fire of erotic passion.