They were on a holiday with her sister’s family and their combined six kids and while everybody else was sleeping, they took the morning to go swimming in Lake Travis, Austin. The situation was by all means, idyllic.
Looking at her husband of 22 years, the bestselling author described it as a perfect moment.
“‘Steve, I feel so connected to you. I’m so glad we’re spending this time together doing this’,” she recalled on her Netflix special, Brene Brown: The Call to Courage.
“And he looks back to me and goes, ‘Yep, waters good’ and keeps swimming.”
Watch the trailer for Netflix’s Brene Brown: The Call to Courage.
Amazingly, Brown’s first thought was “he is so overwhelmed with love for me. He’s not functioning,” and so she tried again.
“I feel really close to you,” she repeated minutes later.
“‘This is a really special moment. I love doing this with you’. And he looks at me, and goes ‘water’s good’ and he keeps swimming.”
Now she was “pissed off”.
What followed was a scenario most couples will be familiar with.
Fuelled with “nothing but rage and fury” (her words) she swam back to the dock where she reinitiated their fight. She asked him why he was “blowing her off”. He didn’t want to talk about it.
“I don’t want to do this with you,” he said.
In that moment, Brown’s mind went back to her data. She’s spent her career studying shame, vulnerability, courage, and empathy and in 2014, she gave one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time, titled ‘The Power of Vulnerability’. Brown also regularly consults and shares her knowledge with a vast array of people, from world class CEOs, military servicemen and the families of shooting victims.