Making Long Distance Relationships Work

Long distance relationships can be difficult, and if that is your current relationship reality keep reading, I've got good news; There are a few simple things you can do to make it work and you probably already know what they are.

First, I have to say that being in a long distance relationship in this age of crazy-awesome technology is far better than back 30 years ago, like when I was dating and all we had was the United States Postal Service! Gesh, I'm old! Ha ha!

7 Things To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work

1) Trust

This is the MOST important element that must be present for a long distance relationship to work, and work well. In fact, this may be the most important element needed for any relationship to work well and be healthy. Without 'trust' there will be constant discord in the relationship. Suspicions run high in relationships where trust is not present.

2) Communication

Text, email, phone call, messenger, letters (the old fashion ones). Of course communication is important in all relationships, but especially when you are far apart it must be intentional and frequent and consistent. Never leave each other hanging!

3) Daily Updates

Now with texting, facebook, snapchat and every other social network you can keep each other updated on the little happenings throughout the day. This keeps your partner in the know with each facet of your everyday life.

4) Be quick to forgive.

No one is perfect, so give your partner a break and be quick about giving forgiveness! You will need it soon enough, so be generous in giving it!

5) Be quick to say, "I'm sorry!"

I was taught growing up we should always be quick to say, "I'm sorry" especially if and when you are the one in the wrong. Make amends! There is nothing more toxic than bitterness, or holding a grudge. Apologize when you are wrong.

6) Trust

I believe there is only one option when it comes to trust, you give it until it is broken. When it is broken, then you must rebuild to a place of trust again (if you chose to walk that road), but that may take some time. And it will definitely take some hard work, oh, and patience!

7) Trust

Refer back to #1 & #6

Will You Marry Me?

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and I am sure there will be many people popping the question to their significant others! Every woman (everyone) deserves a proper proposal. I may be a bit old fashion, but if you want to ask for her hand in marriage you should ask her father for permission (if it's possible) first! Then make some special plans for the big ask. Not just look over during an old episode of Seinfeld and say, "maybe we should get married? What do you say?" Come on, seriously?! They are worth more than that, they deserve more!

I realize there are no "cookie cutter" ways to popping the question, but it needs to be thought out, special, planned, creative, then executed. Don't dare make it an after thought, don't be that guy.

If you are going to propose, here are a few elements that MUST be present:

1) Ask her Father.

2) Have a ring.

3) Get down on one knee.

4) Make it special.

Other than that, skies the limit.

Navigating Religious Diversity

I'm the founding pastor of a wonderful church in Kansas City named Mercy Church. We are an Non-denominational christian church. We are what you would call Evangelical, though I find that we are unique in many ways, especially in our approach to theological differences and our position on some social issues in culture today. We allow for *theological differences, even on our leadership team. From my personal experience this is very unique.

I remember going to church as a teenager, even young adult, where if I was going to volunteer I had to fill out and sign a form on the 17 things the church believed that I must believe too (not all the things were even theological) before I could volunteer. This form was required to be re-filled out and signed every year. And what I later learned is that most people in that environment just checked "YES" and then signed whether they agreed or not, it was just easier that way. I could not do that, it seemed to me to be an integrity breach to say, "Yes I believe that" when secretly I did not believe that.

At Mercy Church we have nearly every religious background present. We have Jewish congregants (not messianic either), a couple people from a Buddhist background (still practicing), a Jehovah's Witness (which if you know anything about JW's they are not allowed to be a part of anything other than JW churches) ...we even **had an Atheist attending for a year. This is fascinating to me, especially since we teach from a Biblical perspective a Christian message of hope through Jesus Christ and Him alone. I believe it to be our loving approach and the way we allow for questions, discussions and differences to exist while maintaining unity in faith. I believe in a loving God who understands all our journeys, no matter where we are.

Our primary membership is made up of mainline Christian denominations, with a heavy splash of Catholic, Methodist, and Baptist. A true melting pot of religious diversity. And I love that. I never set out to start an all Republican-Voting Baptist-Hymn-singing church. (Nothing wrong with being Republican or Baptist or singing Hymns! Just sayin!) I wanted a church that would rally around the two main messages of Jesus, which is found in Matthew 22:37-40 where Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

1) Love God!
2) Love People & Love Yourself!

And in my 20 + years of ministry I have finally come to except that not every church needs to be like Mercy Church. We are who we are, other churches are who they are ... we need all flavors to be about fulfilling the mandate of our Lord Jesus Christ in this world, and that's to "Make disciples!"

Matthew 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ..."

For me, more than anything, I want Mercy Church (and my life in general) to be a reflection of Jesus' love for all people! I want Mercy Church to be a place where anyone and everyone feels loved and accepted; whether they are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist or from some other religious group.

*Theological Differences: We are a Christian church, so when I say, "theological differences" I am referring to what falls under the acceptable Biblical views and positions of our Christian faith. Make sense? Frankly, views that have been argued over and discussed in the church for thousands of years. I think it's a bit prideful for one group to feel they have all the answers and have God all figured out.

**Had: He eventually accepted the message of Jesus, though we never pressured him, ever! One Sunday he just confessed to me that he decided that everything I was teaching was good, and that he finally felt the boundaries that were keeping him from faith came down. And like I said, we never made him feel like he didn't fit in. I actually found his atheism fascinating.  

What Men Want (1 of 2)

I have counseled hundreds of couples, and worked with hundreds of men over the years and I see a common thread to What Men Want from their partner. Not to mention I am a man and have been one for 45 years now ... I know what I want, and I have found that I am not all that different from the men I have met.

If you want to bring the best out of your man, then keep reading! (And don't you worry, I am working on What Women Want next) These are things that many times your man will not tell you for fear of rejection or ridicule, but I have no fear of that so I shall tell all.

Q: What Do Men Want From The Woman in Their Life?

1) Sexuality. (Please, do read on!)

I don't think women fully understand the depth of sexual pressure a man deals with, just as men don't fully understand the depth of emotional pressure a woman deals with.

      a. Sexual Responsiveness.
Men don't want their partner to give in to their advances out of a feeling of duty or obligation. They want you to respond in a positive way, even if it's a "no" at this time, be kind about it. Here are some things NOT to say in response to his sexual advances:

  • "Please stop touching me you perve!" (Even adding in the word 'please' doesn't help)
  • "Ewww, you are gross."
  • "Really, we just had sex a month ago and you need it again already."
  • "All you think about is sex, you should see a Doctor!"

I know for me, even if it's a "no" right now if I am told that, "later after the kids go to bed would work for intimacy" I am totally cool with that - it gives me something to look forward to. And sometimes the anticipation is exciting. But if it's a "no" with no promise of when, then men go to a dark place and think, 'if it's a no now, it may be a no tomorrow and the day after that, and the day after that ... it's never going to happen again.' I know, crazy, but this is where men go in their heads.

    b. Want Him. 
Men want to be wanted just like women; we want to be desired. I realize that what I am saying here isn't true for all relationships, I am speaking in general terms. I have heard of relationships where the woman is the one always wanting sex and the man is slacking. But in my practice this is not the normal. In most relationships the only time there is sex is when the man initiates. This is very sad.

Women say, "well he wants it more than me and I have no time to initiate, when I think of it, he already has initiated." This is an easy fix, get a head start on him with a note in his briefcase, or in his car about what you will do to him when he gets home. Here is the thing, this doesn't need to be something you feel like doing, you just do it. You can initiate sex even if you don't feel like it.

Men want to feel like you think he is handsome. I know in my marriage my wife does not make noises and sexy comments every time there is a movie trailer with Brad Pitt in it. And this is nothing I have ever asked her to not do. I am fairly secure in myself. But in all reality, duh, of course Brad Pitt is handsome, even straight guys want to marry him. My wife may say, "he is a cool dude" or something to that effect, but she actually compliments me like I was some hot famous movie star. I give her the same respect.

I have been around women (married women) and have heard them say stuff in the presence of their husband about other men, like a Brad Pitt, that I could not even believe. I even heard one wife say, "I'd leave you for him!" she then laughed like it was a joke. It wasn't funny. Some jokes are funny, until they aren't.

    c. Have Fun.
Men want to have fun in the bedroom. This doesn't mean that every single time needs to be a circus. But men are visual, so stimulate him visually - wear lingerie, outfits, etc. Light candles, have music playing, set the mood. (Guys you can help do this too! This isn't only the woman's job!)

Baseball games are won by base hits, not home runs usually. But a home run ever so many at bats sure is exhilarating. My rule of thumb is every month or so, do something really special. For example, lots of foreplay, or massages, stimulate in others ways beside just straight love making (I pray you know what I am trying to say without saying it here.)

To Be Continued ...

Don't worry ladies, men actually do want a few other things other than sex, but sex is a HUGE part of the makeup of a man. And many men wish they weren't wired so sexually, but we are. To me if there is a man in your life that you love, why wouldn't you want to do everything in your power to make him feel loved, respected, cared for and fulfilled sexually? I mean that only makes sense, right!

Disclaimer: I am speaking to people in a committed relationship (Marriage). I also realize that the stuff I am saying only really works if the man in your life is a pretty wonderful guy who is attentive to you and your needs. It's hard to give to someone who is a total jerk. I am sorry if that is the kind of marriage you are in! That stinks!

Are Opposite-Sex Friends Okay When Married?

This has been a discussion I have had with many couples over the years and have discussed at length with my wife of 20+ years!

Can you have opposite-sex friendships when you are married?

My thoughts have definitely evolved over the years. Early on, when I was more insecure and immature, I felt that it wasn't appropriate for married people to be friends with those of the opposite sex, ever. But now, after nearly 21 years of marriage, and some maturity (emphasis on the word some) I feel a bit different.

It's not so much about the friendship as it is about your personal character and how you handle the friendship, and who you are friends with. I used to throw the baby out with the bathwater and say, "no way can you have any friends of the opposite-sex when you are married ... you will end up having an affair with them!" But that is the same as what some of my religious non-drinker friends say about alcohol, they say that, "if you drink it leads to drunkenness, lewd behaviors and orgies." (That's actually a quote! I know, ridiculous.)

My Rules That Should Govern Opposite- Sex Friendships

1) The friend should preferable be a friend of both.

This just means that to have a friend that is only your friend could be challenging. Because when they are a friend of both, they will have a respect, hopefully, for the marriage not just the individual. Make sense? There are always exceptions to rules of course, so don't get too hung up on the rule.

2) No secrets.

It should be a totally open friendship. No hiding anything about the friendship from your partner. If you are hiding the friendship, that is a warning sign for sure. There shouldn't be anything to hide ... especially if it's all above board.

3) No confiding.

I have a couple female friends, one in particular I am extremely close with and have been friends with for nearly 12 years and I have never "confided" in her. I haven't told her anything I haven't already talked about with my wife.

4) Never talk bad about your spouse with them.

My rule on this one applies to same-sex friends too. I know it's a bit extreme, but I do not find there to be any benefit in spouse bashing. So I just don't do it. If I have issues with my wife I talk to her about it, or a counselor who will give me sound wisdom. I believe this rule to be extremely valuable to the marriage if followed.

5) Limit Alcohol use when with your friend.

Alcohol, the great elixir. It removes inhibitions as well as morality, in my experience. In other words, if you aren't all that attracted to this friend, you will be after a couple glasses of wine, so be careful. Let's just be honest here, many of the stories that start with, "Well I had a few beers then ..." and they proceed to tell the "bad" story.

6) The character of your friend. 

The character of the friend you have makes all the difference in the world. If he/she is a person of character with a strong moral compass it will surely work. Because even if they were attracted to you they wouldn't cross lines because of their strong character. Of course you should have strong character too, so even if they want to cross lines you don't.

7) Listen to your spouse.

If my wife says, "No!" to the friendship, then it's a no. Period. If you don't like that, then I would advise you to never get married. It's not for you. Part of what makes marriage work is submitting one to another.

A spouse is not only a companion, but also your protector (in a healthy relationship) and they help keep you safe and protected from others and even from yourself.


I unfortunately missed out on many opportunities for valuable rich freindships with women because of my religious fear-based upbringing. "Don't even look at another woman, and definitely don't talk to them, and for damn sure don't ever be around one without your spouse present!" Oddly enough many of those same people who spouted that fear-based teaching ended up having affairs, being addicted to porn, and living a lie. Living that way obviously doesn't keep people from having affairs.

The reality is anyone can have an affair, the question is would that be beneficial to those closest to you? Is it what God wants, I mean really? You know the answer. No! No!

Please post your thoughts, questions, disagreements and opinions!


Pastor Timmy's KC Wedding Officiant Team

If you are getting married look below to find 5 of Kansas City's finest Wedding Professionals; The Pastor Timmy team of Wedding Officiants is among the most sought after officiants in Kansas City! 

If you are getting married anywhere within an hour or two of the Kansas City Metro then you have come to the right place. Whether you are looking for a religious (Christian) ceremony, or a not-so-religious ceremony, we can get you covered. Our team of officiates work with all kinds of couples from all kinds of religious backgrounds or lack-of ... we do not discriminate!


(W) 913.390.1200
(M) 913.449.2283


P.O. Box 8401
Prairie Village, KS 66208


to help couples create a beautiful wedding ceremony 
and give them tools to create and a wonderful life together! 

Pastor Timmy Gibson
(Founder and Lead Officiant)

Reverend Houston 
(The handsome bearded man on the right)

Reverend Jana Gibson

Reverend Michele

Reverend Chris 

Picnic with Spice

1) Picnic & Photo shoot.

 The idea here is to have a little picnic somewhere special, but during meal capture the moments, the laughter by snapping pictures. With phones being cameras now it's not like you have to remember "the camera." Also, after you finish eating look for some cool areas to snap off some cool pictures to share on Instagram.

2) Picnic & Poems.

 This idea is simple, only a little pre-planning before the date (or have your smart phone handy) bring some poems you feel communicate what you might want to say to your partner ... during the meal read them to each other.

3) Picnic & Massage. 

 Easy, just eat and rub. (That sounded weird! ha ha!) A nice neck and shoulder rub after you eat, or feet and hands ... you can figure it out.

4) Picnic & Kisses.

 There's nothing more romantic than kissing ... so be intentional about lots of kisses, throughout picnic, after, on the way home ... and the kisses can be on the arm, the hands, the feet, the cheek, lips, behind the ear ... you get the idea ... keep it Rated PG though, especially if in public.

5) Picnic & Dreams.

 This will take some prep, at least some pre-thought prep. Take some time before this picnic and really think about what your dreams are.  Where do you want to live?  What do you want to do? Where do you want to travel? What are your dreams? This is a fantastic way to really get to know someone! Critically important if this person is a potential life partner. You want to really know them ... and knowing what someone dreams about let's you in their heart.

One more for fun:  

6) Picnic in Paris (or wherever you wish). 

 The idea here is themed picnics ... pick a place you want to go and make sure to bring food specific to that place, maybe have some pictures pulled up on your phone, read some facts and insights to "the place" and dream of being there, and if you are really good even do the accent. That would be impressive.

Marriage Works Best When ...

... you give yourself 100% to your partner! It's really the only way. If your first concern is what you are going to get from someone, it's just the wrong thing to build a relationship on. Now, yes what you get from a relationship matters, but I believe that it's more important to think about what you are going to give! And what you should give is ALL OF YOURSELF!

There are all sorts of marriages; unhappy ones, dysfunctional ones, miserable ones, nutty ones, crazy ones, sad ones, but the one you and I want to be in is a happy one! It's not even about 'How many years you've been together' it's about being happy and fulfilled with each passing year. I want to be glad I am married, and glad I am married to who I am married to, don't you?

The opposite of what I am saying here is: Selfishness! And "selfishness" will destroy your relationship quicker than you can say, "help!"And it's easy for all of us to go there. It takes me a nanosecond! But no one likes a selfish-butt-head! But often we are that guy or that girl

Let me close with this thought: If your marriage is struggling even a little then I want you, starting today, to begin giving yourself 100% to your partner. Serve them, love them, give to them, be kind and generous in every way possible. Do it for 30 days and see what happens. The first 10 days they are going to think you have started using Crack, but after the 10 days when there is no signs of drug use they will respond.

I love the song All of Me by John Legend says it all! 

All of Me 
by John Legend

Give me all of you 
Cards on the table, we're both showing hearts 
Risking it all, though it's hard 

'Cause all of me Loves all of you 
Love your curves and all your edges 
All your perfect imperfections 
Give your all to me I'll give my all to you 
You're my end and my beginning 
Even when I lose I'm winning 
'Cause I give you all of me 
And you give me all of you I give you all of me 
And you give me all of you, oh

#1 Wedding Officiant Team in Kansas City

(Rev. Timmy Gibson)

I would also like to introduce to you the #1 Male Wedding Officiant in Kansas City. If you prefer a male to officiate your wedding, then Pastor Timmy is your man. He is friendly, easy to talk to, fun, professional and a delight to work with! His reviews on are perfect! He would also be a big win for your wedding day.

(Rev. Jana Gibson)
I would like to introduce to you the #1 Female Wedding Officiant (Pastor) in Kansas City. If you are looking for a female officiant for your wedding day, look no further; Jana Gibson is a perfect choice. She is smart, fun, well-spoken, easy to work with and very professional. She will be a win for your wedding day!


Your wedding is a big deal, and it should be done right! And we at Weddings by Pastor Timmy do it right! We are the #1 highest rated Wedding Officiant Team in the Kansas City market doing over 50 weddings a year. We have added additional ministers to our staff of officiants if Rev. Jana or Pastor Timmy are unavailable. All the officiants on our team do things the Weddings by Pastor Timmy way, which is nice, sharp, and professional! We've been serving Kansas City couples for over 10 years.

If you are engaged and looking for a wedding officiant for your special day and you want the best, then you have come to the right place. Give our team a call today and we will get you all taken care of, then you can rest knowing the most critical part of your wedding day is all set and you can sleep peacefully.


(913) 390-1200 (Office)
(913) 449-2283 (Mobile) (Email)