Happy Friday! It's been way too long since we have posted a FF and we are truly sorry about that! We know a few of you have asked why we stopped posting these and the truth is, we just got super busy in the last few months. But we are back with a brand new one this week and we think you're going to love learning more about Marcus and Steven like we have.
Marcus has a hilarious sense of humor, has a thing for Beyonce, and gets pretty real about his and Marcus' early days when money was tight. We found his responses to be inspiring and honest, two things the world could use more of right now! Take a look and see what we mean...
Where are you from?
That's a long answer. As a child of a pastor, we moved around a lot. I was born in Fort Worth, but we moved to Lakeland, Florida, shortly after I was born. We also lived in Oklahoma and various parts of Texas throughout my childhood. Normally I just tell people Dallas. Steven’s answer is easy: Pasadena, Texas, just outside of Houston, born and raised. His parents still live in the same house he grew up in.
Where do you live?
Houston, Texas (home to the World Series champs and, more importantly, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter).
What’s your Instagram handle?
@marcusleepowers and @spkibodeaux
Partnered. Taken. Booed up.
How long have you guys been together?
We’ve been together five years and counting.
How did you guys meet and where?
Our story is a tale as old as time… just kidding, we met on Grindr. We met in person for the first time in April 2012, but apparently we “met” on Grindr once before that a few months before. (Steven remembers that; I don’t.) I messaged him because his profile photo showed a lot of chest hair and he was super cute. We talked to each other on the app on a Friday, text messaged each other through the weekend, and met up for dinner on Monday night. Steven was in nursing school. We didn’t officially start dating until July 20, 2012, even though we spent practically every day together.
Choose a movie title for the story of your relationship:
Bring It On. Mostly because we were both pretty hesitant to start a relationship (because he was in school, I was newly single) but decided to just go for it, but also because that movie is perfect.
What is something you have had to overcome as a couple?
We went back and forth when we first met over whether it was a good time for us to start a relationship. Once we decided to just jump in, things were pretty smooth sailing. But I was in journalism back then, which is not a field you get into if you want to make any kind of money. Steven was in school, working barely ten hours a week at a minimum wage job. So money was super tight. I am not exactly the best at being frugal, so there were situations where I’d overspend and Steven had to figure things out. There were plenty of weeks that we had macaroni and cheese for dinner. Looking back, I realize we were actually pretty lucky. But for a while, it was frustrating always feeling like some other big expense would come up and wipe away whatever security we had. Nowadays we both work full-time, and we are lucky enough to be able to travel quite a bit. We are always grateful for that.
Tell us about your first date!
I worked in television news at the time. I worked 1:30 pm to 10:30 pm, with a dinner break around 6 o’clock. So that coupled with the fact that we were both broke, we decided to go to Freebird’s, a burrito place. We met up, ate our food, and talked for several hours. At this point, I knew Steven was someone special, and way out of my league. He was right at the end of his first year of nursing school, so he didn’t have a ton of free time. But I came up with any excuse to see him after that point. I wouldn’t call it love at first sight, but we were both pretty smitten from the first meeting.
How has it been being an out, gay couple? Have you faced any criticism or hardships?
Before we moved to Houston, we lived in a fairly small, conservative town in southeast Texas. But to be perfectly honest, we’ve never come up against much pushback. We now live in Houston, which is the fourth largest in America and the most diverse city in the nation. We count ourselves extremely lucky that we’ve been able to live our lives freely and without fear of consequence.
How old were you when you came out and what was your experience like?
As I mentioned, I was the son of a pastor. I started the coming out process the summer after my freshman year of college, when I was 19. I told most of my friends, even though I was attending a pretty conservative private college. I never really told my family, because they are all fairly religious and conservative. But eventually, I just sort of stopped hiding it online, and they have all been amazingly welcoming to me and Steven. Nowadays, I’m 100% out. My family knows, I always bring up Steven in the workplace, and there’s never a time when I hide who I am. It was a long process, but it was so, so, so worth it. Steven’s story is somewhat similar, minus the religious family. He was out to friends in high school and college, but didn’t (fully) come out to his parents until after we met, around the age of 27.
Best advice for a successful relationship?
When I was thinking about ending my first relationship, which lasted almost five years, I talked to a friend about it. He had been in his relationship for a decade, and I asked him how he knew it was meant to last. He said that, at the end of the day, the person he wants to hang out with was his boyfriend (now his husband). I realized then I couldn’t say that about my boyfriend at the time, so I ended it the next day. So my advice? Be friends with your partner. Physical attraction is vitally important, but just wanting to hang out and watch stupid Hallmark holiday movies with them is just as important, if not more so.
What is the thing you love the most about each other?
We’re truly a ying-yang type of couple. I’m a bit of an introvert, Steven is definitely an extrovert. I’m fiercely loyal and have a few close friends, Steven has never met a stranger. The things I am not (but wish I was), he is. And vice versa. I love Steven because he’s got the biggest heart of anyone I know. He works as a nurse in the pediatric ICU at a major children’s hospital, and I always say that what makes him a good nurse is that he really, truly gives a damn about every single one of his patients and their families. Pediatric nursing is truly his calling, plain and simple, and it’s been so wonderful to see him grow in that career. I’m just so proud of him. But at the end of the day, he’s a kind person to everyone, and never one to judge anybody. That’s exceedingly rare. He’d probably say that thing he loves most about me is my vast, deep knowledge of early 2000s female-centric R&B music.