You’ll get the headline for this post if you listed to the video below. It’s absolutely spot-on perfect.
The video is by Jaime Primak Sullivan — a publicist, producer, writer, mom and wife who hosts the popular Cawfeetawk vlog and a very sassy Instagram account. Here she’s talking about something her husband keeps failing to do, even though he knows it’s a small thing for her to ask and it’s a truly big deal to her. Her realization: The problem is not him failing to get the message. He hears her. He just doesn’t want to do what she asks.
Now that’s sobering, isn’t it.
I’m well aware that two people in a relationship — even a loving one like the Sullivans’ — don’t always see eye to eye, and there are persistent irritating behaviors that just have to be shrugged off. But the way she describes this reveals his fundamental disrespect about something that truly matters to her.
Have you ever heard that big, crashing, thundering, explosive Beethoven’s 5th Symphony that gets played all up and down the keyboard? (OMG, it’s fun to play that on the piano.) That music is how hard this video hit me. Moments of recognition kept hitting me for crescendo after crescendo.
These are the quotes from her video that hit me the hardest. Her frustration rings through clearly for me, because I’ve felt exactly the same way in my marriage:
- “If you wanted to be a good husband, you would.”
- (to her husband) “I’m about tired of begging you for the same thing.”
- (to her husband) “If you wanted to be an upfront truthful communicator, you would be.”
- “I am so frustrated that I have spent 13 years trying to convince this man that I am worthy of communication.”
- “And you know what the truth is? He just doesn’t want to. It’s that simple. It’s not that I haven’t said it the right way. It’s not that I haven’t communicated to him what I need. It’s not that I haven’t found a way to say what needs to be said in way that he can receive it and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. No. Y’all, no! The fact of the matter is: He just doesn’t want to.”
- “People do what they want to do. … And they don’t do one thing more.”
- “Stop twisting yourself in a knot trying to figure out a way to make somebody understand what you need. They know what you need. They heard you the first time. They just don’t want to give it to you.”
- “He just doesn’t want to be that husband. He just doesn’t want to be that guy for me.”
- “It’s not just a man thing. One hundred percent no. Anybody in your life that you are trying, trying , trying to get them to understand what it is that you need, and you keep saying it in different ways, hoping that it will make a difference, they heard you the first time. They just don’t want to give it to you. And that hurts. And it’s disappointing. And it’s upsetting.”
- “I’m just saying that sometimes it is safer to stay in the place where we keep telling them what we need, because it is hard as shit to accept the fact that the person who looks us in the face and says they love us don’t want to be the person we need them to be. That is a really emotionally challenging place to be.”
- “Handle your business.”
- “The apologies mean nothing anymore, y’all. They mean nothing. It’s like, ‘I’m sorry — uh — here’s a lamp.’ It’s like it doesn’t mean anything.”
- “The best apology is changed behavior, and I don’t get that. I deserve it, and I don’t get it.”
I want to play this video on a continuous loop at my house, hour after hour, at full volume, with me nodding along in a “That’s what she said!” kind of way, until it dawns on my husband that I want him to hear this. Jaime is talking about HIM and she’s also talking about ME.
But I’m not going to do that.
Because if he wanted to be a good husband — IN THE WAYS I WANT HIM TO BE ONE — he would be.
P.S. If you resonate with Jaime like I do, you’ll love her book. Check out The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl. Excellent reading!