A man may think that manliness is to be strict and serious- but we see what manliness is in the life of The Prophet peace be upon him, and his dealings with his family, for he said: "the best of you are those who are best to their women, and I am best to my women."
A woman leads her husband to her happiness - the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would be gentle with his wives and would beautify himself for them..His whole life was like this, it was not limited to a few incidents!
Today when we speak of romance, and love- we find that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم , was the best in these things - The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم , when he sacrificed an animal, would send a portion to Khadija's friends. Who today thinks of his wife's friends?
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was a member of the household, he used to sweep the house, and the bathroom; a man today would think this was not suitable for his manliness.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did not travel but he took one of his wives with him- he would draw lots between them. During the last Pilgrimage, he took all of them with him. He صلى الله عليه وسلم did not think that a woman was a burden to him. On the day of Hudeibiyah He صلى الله عليه وسلم took counsel from His wife Um Salama, and this is recorded in history!
Once His wife, Safiyya, wanted to climb onto a camel, so the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم bent over, and let her put her foot on his shoulder, so that she could climb up! This would be like someone opening the door of a car for a women, and him doing so happily, seeing this as an act of ihsan and following of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم .
One of His final advices was, "Be good to your women!" and He said the best of you are best to your family- This was the advice of the master of all men صلى الله عليه وسلم.
Statistics say that 20-50% of women suffer domestic physical violence at the hand of men. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم never hit a women in His entire life. Today, men think that this makes them more manly,- and the one who is more manly than them over 100 times never did so! He never extended His hand to women. The one who hits women he has a lack of manliness!
Whoever wants to follow and have a portion of the manliness of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم : he is gentle, and merciful and receives his family with a smile.
Whoever wants to be close to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم , be good to your women, and be gentle, patient, and merciful, fulfil her rights, enjoy yourself with her and this will bring you closer to Him and help you to meet Him at the basin on the day of Judgement, in sha Allah.
- from a talk by Habib Muhammad al-Saqqaf