Is He Your Knight in Shining Armor?
By Karen Card
want to be the “Knight in Shining Armor.” When the Knight arrives to
save the “Damsel in Distress,” he expects that he will have to work
hard. To win the affection of the Damsel, the Knight knows he must
be brave, work hard and slay the dragon. He is willing to put forth
this effort because he knows the Damsel will be grateful when he
completes his job and she will appreciate all his efforts. He wants
to be her hero.
the Knight shows up to slay the dragon and the Damsel tells him,
“No, do not use your sword. I think it will work better if you
poison the dragon. Or, maybe you should find him a new home in
another city. Oh, never mind, just let me do it.” Does the Knight
still feel like her hero? Does he feel that he has “come to her
rescue,” or does he feel like the hired help?
woman tells a man how to complete a task (slay the dragon),
he loses the opportunity to be her hero. If he cannot be her hero
and earn her appreciation, he loses his motivation to complete the
task. He may even avoid future opportunities to do things for her,
because he feels that he cannot be her hero if he cannot slay the
dragon on his own.
women think they are being helpful when they offer advice to men on
a better way to do their tasks. Because a woman feels cared for when
a man offers to help her, she thinks she is returning the favor when
she offers to help him. Unfortunately, it does not work that way.
women have different needs, and while most women like lots of input
on their tasks, men have a need to figure things out on their own.
Unsolicited advice from a woman feels bad to a man. He interprets
her attempts to help the same as if she said, “It is obvious to me
that you are not smart enough or capable of doing this on your own,
therefore I must help you.” While the woman is thinking that she is
showing him how much she cares about him by helping him, he is
thinking that she is insulting him.
Advice for Men: When she offers you unsolicited advice, tell her
that you understand she is just trying to help you because she cares
about you. Then explain to her that men really do prefer to figure
things out on their own, and the best thing she can do for you is to
let you do it on your own. If she persists (because women always
want to help), you may also want to mention that if she wants you to
do things for her in the future, she needs to let you do the task on
Advice for Women: If you want him to be your Knight in Shining
Armor and your hero, you need to let him figure it out on his own.
He might not slay the dragon or complete the task in the same way
you would, but it will get done. If you bite your tongue and let him
complete the task on his own, and then appreciate him for it, he
will be motivated to do more for you in the future and become your
Knight in Shining Armor.
we complete tasks or slay dragons, is just one of the many
differences between men and women. Understanding these differences
allows men and women to make minor behavior changes to support each
other, rather than inadvertently hurting each other. With knowledge
of the differences of the opposite sex and some clear communication,
men and women can have the happy, healthy relationship they desire.
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