They Do Exist.

From The Men: Love, Respect, And My Wife.

Editor’s Note: It is a gift getting to hear men share what they love & treasure about their girlfriends & wives. So often we don’t know how much we mean to them. And often, we have trouble putting ourselves in their shoes to see from their perspective. Jaymes Downer writes about love, respect, & his wife. Jaymes is Production Coordinator for Think Tree Media, blogs at & tweets at @jaymesdowner. – Lauren

In a mere 18 days I will kiss my wife and more than likely hand her a cheezy Hallmark card with a typical message scribed inside. It will read, ‘Happy Anniversary.’ It has almost been a year since that amazing day, though it feels like only weeks. On the other hand, it feels like too many years to count.

I will start by humbly admitting that I have learned more in the last 347 days about myself than I had the previous 9,120 by far. My wife has often been the instrument used in this grueling self evaluation and reconstruction. She has a grace about her that allows her to perform extreme surgeries on my character without me feeling much pain at all…if any.

You quickly learn things when you begin life with your spouse. With two small words you instantly become someone else.

I do!

I do…want to spend the rest of my life with you.

I do…want to love you unconditionally a receive the same love from you.

I do…want to have fun and be there through the good and the bad.

I do…want to let you into the most intimate places of myself.

In two words, life flips. And so does the switch…at least it did for me.

Shortly after our wedding I began to realize things that I never noticed before. Things my wife would or wouldn’t do that either made me feel amazing, or incredibly pissed off. Woah. What was this?!?!? Almost instantly I began feeling dependent on her for certain responses, or praises, or support, or …trust.

I’m not talking about the, ‘it’s cool babe, she’s just a friend’ kinda trust. I’m talking about trusting that I have your best interest in mind far above my own personal gain. Trusting that I’m going to make the best decision for our family. Trusting that I will always take care of you and ensure that you have everything you need.

My wife has become incredible at this over the last few months. I could literally wake my wife from her sleep right now and tell her that I felt like I was supposed to quit my job and God was going to provide for us through the next season. She would say, ‘ok hunny, I trust you to make the best call for our family and I trust that you hear God,’ she would then roll over and scoot her body against mine and fall back asleep.

This makes me feel incredibly confident. I know there are people who may be reading this and think that I am a controlling pig and my wife should have a voice of her own. Let me assure you, the senario I described above would have a very similar result if the roles were reversed. The effect that this has in really hard to explain unless you have personally walked in it. Knowing that no matter what, your partner is standing right behind you. Not only holding you up in support, but really pushing you forward.

This next one is a common one. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Oh I’ll tell ya what it means to me. It means being on my side now. It means not siding with your mother just because she is your mother anymore. It means not gossiping when all your girl friends are dishin the ish about their men. It means not talking down to me, but instead choosing to be an encouragement…even when I’m a douche bag.

Men gravitate towards respect. It’s why we want to be the boss. Or why we want to be the best guy out on the field. Paul Walker said it best in The Fast and The Furious…’But if I win, I take the cash, and I take the respect. To some people thats more important.’

As corny as that movie may be, that line screams truth. Men crave respect. It’s that simple. As woman, you will just have to know this. Just like we as men don’t have to understand your emotions, you may not understand respect and what it means to us…but you better just respect it!

There have been times I’ve felt disrespected, but my wife had no idea. I will give you an example so you see what I mean.

My wife needed some advice on how to handle a situation. She called and told me she needed to ask me something and informed me she was at a friends house. I drove over to see what was up. She posed the question and I began with my answer. Quickly I realized that she had already discussed this with the friends that were still present as they collectively began to knock down my response. I closed up pretty quick. I wasn’t going to sit there in front of friends and have my answer bashed before it was out of my mouth.

My wife wasn’t sure what went wrong, and honestly you might not see the problem either. The way I saw it thought? My opinion was irrelevant, unless of course I sided with the opinion of the group. I felt my wife was looking for permission to do something that she had already decided to do rather than ask what I really thought. The main issue I had was the audience we had. It literally felt like she sat me down in front of a crowd and asked my opinion only to spit on me and say, ‘I don’t give a $H!% what you think, I’ve made up my mind.’ I absolutely know now that was obviously not her heart, but that doesn’t change how I felt…come on ladies, give me a little credit for talking about my feeeeeeelings.

More important that any of that, if I could have only one thing? It would be for my wife to know that I love her.

I want it to be the most solid thing in her world. I chose her. Out of all of the girls in all of the history of the world, I chose Jordan Leigh Howeth (now Downer). I long for her to fall asleep at night knowing that fact. Knowing that my love was a choice. My love had free will.

So Jordan Leigh Downer, if you are reading this…

I want trust, I need respect, and I love you..

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17 Responses

  1. Gabe

    Love this so much!! Totally know all about this, and totally know what you mean by, sometimes you have to experience it before you can understand it… (The effect that this has in really hard to explain unless you have personally walked in it.)…. Brilliant article! :)

    September 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

  2. Paula

    This is brilliant & I love the picture. Now I'm left wondering what respect is? My mother definitely didn't model it. It's great hearing from the guys perspective. Can we have some more please :)

    September 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

  3. sooo sweet. What a beautiful picture. I pray that God continues to be the center of your marriage!

    September 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm

  4. Bam! Love y'all heaps!

    September 7, 2011 at 11:43 pm

  5. Great stuff man! Somehow you managed to work a Fast and the Furious movie quote in it. Love it x 1,000.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:50 am

  6. In 10 years of marriage I've learned how quickly I can tear down my husband. Problem is, unfortunately I still do it. Whether intentionally or unintentionally. Thank you for the reminder that respect is life's breath to my husband.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

  7. Thanks for all the comments lady. I love that I had the opportunity to share with you all.

    Paula, unfortunately I don't have a save all answer for what respect looks like. This is something that is going to be different from guy to guy. Something I need may actually not be that big of a deal to another man. Personally, as silly as it sounds, respect for me often looks like my wife helping me keep the house clean and organized. I'm kind of a neat freak, so this is a way she can help me stay sane while showing me the things that are important to me are important to her. For practice now(I'm not really sure of your status, age, all that stuff) I would start by showing honor and respect to the men in your life. Wether that be your father, brother, or a man that has a leadership role in your life. I love love love when my wife approaches me and asks what she can do to respect me. This shows me the ultimate form of respect in that she is showing her actual desire to respect me. I think oftentimes the 'men are from mars women are from venus' mentality keeps us in a rut. We forget that while we are very different, we still have the ability to communicate. So don't be afraid to ask what respect looks like the the man you want to respect. Though it will be a humbling experience, I believe it will come with great reward.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

  8. Bryan

    James – gotta hand it to you. This is some straight-up writing. It's not only clear about the need for respect, but implies our stewardship, to be worthy of that respect. I guess it's like the love she needs – sometimes it's an act of faith, but if done sincerely, it will yield good fruit.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:30 am

  9. Lindsay

    this. is. beautiful.
    thank you for writing this!

    September 29, 2011 at 2:56 pm

  10. @melissapowley

    I pray your wife will always know how you chose her, and I hope that I can learn to trust that my other half chose me for a good reason too! Bless you James, you’re voice is invaluable :)

    March 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm

  11. lovely :)

    April 10, 2012 at 3:54 am

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