By Don Lowe
There’s no way not to be impressed with how Steve and Cindy Head have a love story that has forged a stronger bond with each passing year through more than three and a half decades, even though quite a few people didn’t figure it would be everlasting.
Being completely transparent, Steve and Cindy shared how they met at what was a difficult time in their lives. “We were attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or 12-step recovery meetings. We both struggled with alcohol in our younger years, and it had affected our prior marriages.”
“In early 1986, we had attended a 28-day in-patient treatment program in Springfield, Missouri, called Turning Point, which had weekly after-care counseling in Joplin, Missouri. We were both attending those weekly counseling sessions, and that’s where we first got acquainted.”
They began dating soon afterward, and Steve fondly remembered that “one night, we decided to exchange phone numbers and talk, and just be friends. Of course, the just friends idea was just to rationalize what we knew was probably not what people would think was the best idea in the world.
“We talked on the phone a few times, then suggested we could maybe go to a movie as just friends, of course. But that ended up being the point of no return for us. We were going to be more than just friends.”
Less than three months after their first date, Steve and Cindy got married, and they knew it was right for them.
“When Steve showed me some videos he had made of his parents and family, I could see his heart, his creativity and his caring compassionate nature,” said Cindy. “I could see his love for God and family. I trusted that he would love me and my boys, as well.”
Steve said, “To be honest, we both fell instantly gaga in love with each other. It was an instant attraction that never dissipated but only grew stronger over the years. Cindy had brought a joy into my life that I never wanted to end.”
That’s how it all began. As for how they’ve remained steadfastly in love with each other, it’s not complicated.
Cindy said, “Our love of God, and both of us striving individually and together to live and love more like Jesus,” is what strengthened their marriage.
Steve said, “After a few years in our marriage, at the time when the physical attraction usually starts to fade away, there was one day that I remember thinking to myself, ‘I love this woman inside of Cindy.’
“It was my first realization that my love for her went way beyond the physical. I was still gaga in love, but it was on a spiritual level that I’d never known or experienced. In my prior marriage, I never felt that way. This was a new feeling. And I thought, ‘This is what true love is.’”
All the many things this husband-and-wife team do together only makes their bond stronger. Cindy said, “It has kept us young at heart and totally committed to each other.”
Steve said, “All of these things we do, both as a couple and individually, are what I like to describe as ‘what redemption looks like.’
“When God takes all the pain and brokenness of our earlier lives and turns it all around and creates something new and beautiful, you just can’t help but share that with others.”
Every married couple faces challenges along the way. As for overcoming those, Cindy said it takes “lots of prayer and learning to be more patient, kind, sacrificial, understanding, caring and compassionate.”
Steve said, “Strong marriages don’t happen in a vacuum. You need others as mentors for your own marriage and people in your life to turn to for help and advice along the way.”
“We’ve had many other couples in our lives to look to as examples and for help. And at some point, you need to pay it forward and be that role model and mentor for others.”
These lovebirds have every reason to be proud of what they’ve built, and Cindy is greatly gratified because of the importance she and her husband placed on “working and praying hard to grow together during challenging and difficult times, while growing a Godly, solid marriage and family where we have our covenant and commitment to each other.”
Steve said what gives him reason to smile is “for me, it’s just the fact that so many people seem to admire our relationship and tell us so. That makes me feel we are not only on the right track but are very blessed.”
Steve and Cindy Fast Facts
Ages: Steve, 70, and Cindy, 73
Relationship Milestones: First date October 5, 1986, then got engaged six weeks later and were marred four weeks after that on December 21, 1986
Blended Family: Three adult sons and one adult daughter along with five adult grandchildren
Hometowns: Steve was born in Oakland, California, where he lived until moving to Joplin, Missouri, in 1978; Cindy was born and raised in Decatur, Arkansas
High School Alma Maters: Steve graduated from Irvington High School in Fremont, California; Cindy is a graduate of Decatur High School in Decatur, Arkansas
College Alma Maters: Steve attended Los Angeles City College and later Missouri Southern State College (1979); Cindy attended the University of Arkansas
College Degree: Cindy received a nursing degree from Missouri Southern State College (1985)
Careers: Steve has owned an advertising and marketing business for 38 years; Cindy just retired as a registered nurse after 39 years
Helping Others: Cindy went on a mission trip to Kenya in 2005; both Steve and Cindy went to Haiti in 2010 to help after the huge earthquake that killed more than 220,000 people. They have both mentored high school and college-aged young people and have been a friendship family to international college students from all around the globe. They’ve led a workshop for adult survivors of abuse. Most recently, they volunteered at local ministries, helping people struggling with childhood trauma and addictions
Recreation Time: Steve and Cindy love art and traveling the country and the world
See more photos from this story in the February 2023 print edition or online at www.showmetheozarks.com