You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don't plan for it!
~"The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams
One thing that most young people who fall in love don't do is think with their head. Of course, love is a decision, not just a feeling, but in the beginning, the romantic feeling part of it seems to be what controls us. I met Stephen 12 years ago, and he was my first boyfriend. It was my first time being pursued, getting love letters; in a romance. Of course, we didn't get married or engaged when I was 19. I moved away, we dated other people, and then, after the romance feeling had died off and our heads were back in control, we did get married. This first romance of mine worked out. But only because Steve has character.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. In Anne Frank's diary, she starts a slight romance with the teenage boy who is also in hiding with them. She knows she would never marry him because he is weak and lacks character. And it got me thinking about how many people I know and am so glad I never married for that exact same reason. Imagine if I would have married some deadbeat that expected me to carry his weight and didn't have any firm convictions. A strong marriage includes a mutual respect, and I wouldn't have that with someone without character.
A man of character, to me, is someone who is head of the family. He works hard to provide for his family. He constantly seeks to better and improve himself. He knows what he believes and why. He has a clear definition of right and wrong and instills those values in his children. He always wants the best for his children. He loves his children's mother. He isn't petty or superficial. Despite the unexpected situations that arise, he will find a way through. He makes everyone feel safe, protected, and provided for.
I am so thankful I have that in Stephen. I have a man that planned for the future to evolve into the present. I have a man who is working towards his Master's degree in the evenings. I also have a man who doesn't believe everything he hears, but weighs all sides equally before reaching a decision. I have a man who is open-minded, who loves my family, and who would do anything for our children. I have a man that loves me, 12 years later, for the person I've evolved into as well as all the worse versions of me that came first.
My past has not turned into everlasting regret because of the present and future I have with my family.