Trust and respect are the solid cornerstones of any successful marriage, but they are also as fragile as fine-spun glass.
Brad and Kate were complete opposites. They had met in high school, and the shy Brad had been in awe of the pretty, confident, and assertive Kat, as her friends called her.
The truth is that Kat was also something of a bully as a teen, a fact Brad overlooked when his all-time crush seemed to be as fascinated with him as he was with her when he returned to their hometown after college.
Their different personalities were oil and vinegar. Brad smoothed things over, soothing ruffled feathers after Kat's sour, acidic humor and acerbic personality left teeth on edge. A piquant mix, friend's commented. Like most marriages, it worked. Until it didn't.
Couple in love | Source: Unsplash
Friends would have bet their lives that Kat had the upper hand in the marriage, despite the fact that Brad was the primary bread-winner. They never expected the sudden turnabout in their fourth year of marriage -- and neither did Kat.
The end began when Kat announced that she was finally pregnant with the baby Brad had been longing for, for so long. The delighted man spoiled his wife shamelessly, redoubling his gestures of love and affection.
Even though Brad worked all day at a high-pressure job in a prestigious think-tank in a software company, he started making dinner every night when he came home and leaving Kat a lunch and a snack every morning.
Kat was suffering from morning sickness, she claimed, and when she ate the food she made herself, the smell of it made her too nauseous to eat. Soon Brad was cleaning as well as cooking to "spare" his beloved Kat any effort.
Pregnant | Source: Unsplash
But despite her husband's many kindnesses and considerations, Kat grew more and more demanding and critical of Brad and everything he did. His food was terrible, his cleaning slovenly, and his voice hurt her ears.
Brad Googled "pregnancy" and discovered that women's moods were easily altered during gestation due to hormone fluctuations. That was it! His Kat was just suffering from pregnancy blues!
A concerned Brad tried his best to please the increasingly fractious Kat -- and the more he tried the more tyrannical and unpleasant she became. Her language became salty with expletives he'd never heard.
"Brad! What is this?" Kat cried, stirring her bowl of pasta.
"Sweetheart, it's Chicken Parmigiano. I know it's your favorite..."
Eating pasta | Source: Unsplash
"It looks like shit and it tastes worse! Honestly..." and Kat would stir the food Brad had slaved over disdainfully, then eat bite by slow bide with an air of extreme distaste.
Brad took it all in his stride even though her attitude hurt him. The happiest day of his life came when the doctor told them that they were expecting a little girl. A baby girl! Brad, who had had four brothers was overjoyed.
Kat became even more demanding and overbearing. "Brad!" she screamed when they returned from the OBGYN, "I'm starving!"
Brad smiled: "I'm pretty hungry too! What would you like, babes? Anything that tickles your fancy?"
Disgusted | Source: Pixabay
Kat lay back and rubbed at her swollen tummy. "Do you remember those chicken sandwiches from that deli on the corner of Garret street? That's what I want..."
Brad smiled. "Old Coswold's Deli closed down ten years ago, but maybe I can magic something up!"
Brad came back into the sitting room with a large platter piled high with delicious-looking chicken sandwiches, garnished with crisp, dewy lettuce and homemade mayo.
"For my darling!" He cried.
Deli | Source: Unsplash
But Kat eyed the platted disdainfully and picked out a sandwich with wincing fingers and a sour expression on her face. She took a bite, chewed with great effort, and exclaimed: "This is disgusting! Tastes like crap! And what am I supposed to drink? I'm choking on this, it's so dry!"
Brad forced a smile. "Love, I've got soda, ginger ale, orange juice...Anything my princess desires!"
Kat pouted: "I want a Coke and some crisps. Maybe then this will be edible!"
Brad sighed. "Ok, love, I'll pop down to the store and get you some."
"We don't have crisps and Coke? Honestly, this house is chaos since..." And she gestured at her pregnant belly. Brad grabbed his keys and headed for the door.
Delicious sandwiches | Source: Pixabay
"I won't be long, and we'll have our snack together."
He wasn't long at all, and a little over a half-an-hour later he walked in with a bottle of Coke and two bags of crisps. Kat was still lying on the sofa in the same position, but the heaped platter of sandwiches was now empty.
Brad stared in astonishment. "You didn't wait for me?"
Kat looked at him with astonishment. "I was HUNGRY! I'm eating for two, and you took HOURS, what did you expect?"
Brad snapped. "A little consideration would be nice, especially since I've been waiting on you hand and foot!"
Upset | Source: Pixabay
Kat blushed scarlet with rage. "So the worm turns! You didn't speak to me like that when I was thin and sexy and could walk out on you anytime! You don't love me! You never did!" She screamed.
Brad was shocked and hurried to assure her that she was as beautiful and attractive as ever and that he adored her. And somehow, suddenly the conversation wasn't about Kat's lack of consideration at all...
Over the next few days, however, Kat kept a sharp eye on her husband. He had NEVER turned on her before. Never! Her Brad was always accepting, always understanding. Something was definitely up, she thought.
Working out | Source: Pixabay
Three days later, Brad was at the gym for his workout when a voluptuous brunette approached him. "Hey!" She smiled, eyeing his biceps and his six-pack, "I've seen you around...and I like what I see! Want to go for a drink?"
Brad looked at the pushed-up bosom and the sultry lips and replied coldly. "I'm sorry, but I'm married, and I don't have drinks with strange women." Brad walked away shaking his head. The nerve of some women, offering themselves up like that!
When he arrived home that night he was in for a surprise. Kat was waiting for him by the door, a big smile on her face, and the minute he walked in she threw her arms around his neck.
Flirty woman | Source: Unsplash
"Hey!" Brad cried, hugging his wife, "Are you OK? Everything OK?"
Kat was kissing him avidly and smiling. "More than OK! Everything is just perfect, babes, perfect!"
Brad was finding Kat's attitude puzzling, to say the least. She was rarely affectionate out of the marriage bed, and hugs and kisses were rare. "Any news?"
Kat smiled mischievously at him. "Well, I have the best husband, and the most faithful..."
"Well, yes...Kat, you know I'd never..."
But Kat's hand was up: "You've always said that but until today I didn't know if you meant it!"
"What do you mean, until today?"
Outrage | Source: Pixabay
"Well...My friend Lila has a friend who was a Playboy model, and we asked her to hit on you at the gym..." Kat laughed delightedly, "And you passed the test, babe, you turned her down!"
Brad stared at Kat, all his illusions shattering. "I PASSED the test? You tested me? You set me up? What kind of a woman are you?"
"No more, Kat! NO MORE! For years I've put up with your domineering ways, your cruelty, your abuse, but no more! I thought that despite everything you loved me, but now I see that you never did."
"Of course I love you, babes! I married you..."
"There is no love without trust, Kat. You don't trust me because you don't know me, and you don't love me. We are over."
Furious | Source: Pixabay
"OVER!" Kat screamed, "I'm pregnant with the child YOU wanted, and you tell me it's over? It's not over 'til I tell you it's over!"
"Yes, it is. Pack your bags and call your mother. When the baby is born, I'll raise her since I'm the one who wanted her."
"But Brad, we were going to be a family..."
Brad looked at her sadly and shook his head. "No Kat, because you don't know what love is. You thought my kindness and patience were weaknesses, but you are wrong. I knew you needed to feel in charge, so I let you. No more."
"Please, Brad, please..." Kat's tears were running down her face. "Think about me! Pregnant and abandoned? What will people think!"
Pregnant and alone | Source: Pixabay
"What will people think? Well, Kat, honestly most of our friends will probably think 'It's about time.'"
"BUT YOU CAN'T" Kat was beside herself with rage. "I'm pregnant!"
"So you thought that would be a free pass to do whatever you wanted? To humiliate me, take advantage of the love I had for you?"
"Had? What do you mean, Brad?"
He shook his head sadly. "Love and respect go handing hand, Kat, I thought you knew that."
Father and daughter | Source: Pixabay
Kat and Brad's divorce was a seven-day-wonder in their town, especially because Kat made a point of flaunting her seven-month belly, crying and telling everyone she adored Brad despite his cruelty.
But too many people knew her too well, and many who had thought Kat an abusive wife were glad to see Brad take a stand. When the baby was born, Brad was there and was the first to hold the tiny girl.
If Kat thought Brad would relent once the baby was born she was wrong. Kat discovered that she did love Brad, and admired him, and appreciated his kindness above all, but it was much too late.
Brad became a loving and doting father to their little girl, and a few years later he remarried to a sweet gentle woman who loved and cherished him for who he was.
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