Contrary to popular conception, Chivalry was (for the most part) a secular phenomenon. Naturally, it is hard to separate the secular from the sacred in a society which the Church so completely permeated, but the core concepts of Chivalry can be seen to be completely separateable from those of Christianity, and in some cases they completely contradict each other. These core elements of the cult of Chivalry are found not only in the chivalric Romances of the Medieval era, but also in the more historical chronicals.
Largely credited to the Troubadours of what is now southern France, the entire concept of Courtly Love can be seen as an outgrowth of, and complementary to, Chivalry. The highly stylized and idealized forms of behavior of the Knight to his Lady (even if that Lady was the wife of another man), were seen as an ideal towards which every Knight should aspire. Perfectly Platonic, yet deeply passionate, the fullest evolution of Courtly Love would inspire the Knight to the greatest acts of Chivalry.