Cathy grew up dreaming of the perfect world. Pretty dresses. A castle. A handsome prince …
While they were dating, Mark fit the handsome-prince role perfectly. He was charming and thoughtful, and loved surprising Cathy with little gifts. And, of course, Christmastime was the best! Everything he put under the tree for her was perfect. It was as though he’d kept detailed notes about all the things she’d talked about throughout the year.
He certainly wasn’t like her father who never seemed to be around when she needed him. There was no doubt that her dad had always been a great provider, working his way to the top of his company, which occupied most of his time and energy.
For as long as Cathy remembered, her mother had complained that she felt like a single parent from the beginning. Even so, her mother blamed herself for her dad’s lack of involvement with the family. She was always upbeat, cajoling, trying to entice him to do things with the family.
Cathy felt it, too. It was as though she wasn’t important to her dad. When she was little, she tried her best to be cute and funny to get his attention. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. She could never figure out why.
But her Mark was different! At last she had all the attention a woman could hope for. He often said—and demonstrated—that his world revolved around her.
Reflecting on their first night in their new home after the honeymoon, Cathy was still shocked by Mark’s lack of responsiveness. All she’d asked was that he turn off the TV and go to sleep. He’d acted as though he didn’t even hear her!
So she turned on the charm. Nothing. She became more vocal—still with no response. Moving to the living room was her most dramatic ploy. He was supposed to feel bad and follow her, but he didn’t.
She didn’t know what to do. The sugar-and-spice routine had failed again, and she couldn’t figure out why, so she retreated, hoping Mark would feel guilty enough to follow her. He was such a wonderful man. She must be doing something wrong, but what was it?
All these years later she still wonders what went wrong. She’s tried so hard to make “everything nice,” but she’s failed miserably.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and she longs for the sweet romance they once had. Is there any hope for Mark and Cathy?