Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And the bride wore white ... The quest for a pure, passionate marriage

Click here to go to Dannah’s Purefreedom website. I gave a copy of this book to the love of my life as a graduation gift March 2007. She is the second most beautiful woman in the universe. Who’s the most beautiful woman in the universe? Who else but movie actress Angel Locsin!Note: I first posted this article December 10, 2007 in my Salt and Light blog. With some revisions, I am reprinting it here because the most read and commented post in this blog is “Adultery, concubinage and psychological violence” and in view of the raging controversy over the “Integrated Reproductive Health and Population Reduction Bill”. Please surf to the PRO-Life Philippines website for its critique of HB 3773.
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Statistics on teenage pregnancies and sexual experiences

Dr. James Dobson, I think, said that a million teenagers in the US get pregnant every year. In the Philippines, according to the 2003 National Demographic and Health Survey, one out of four women become mothers by age 19 while four out of 10 women in the 20-24-year-old bracket have already engaged in sexual activity.

The 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS 3) conducted by the UP Population Institute and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, Inc. revealed the following alarming statistics:

[1] Twenty-three percent of youth have engaged in premarital sex. A considerable number of sexually-active youth have had multiple partners, with almost half of the males (49%) and 11% of the females reporting more than one sex partner. One in five of the sexually-active males had paid for sex while 12% had accepted payment for sex. Prevalence of commercial sex is negligible among females, with less than one percent of the girls having paid or been paid for sex.

Over time, there has been an increase in the proportion of sexually active youth in the country, from 18 percent (among those aged 15-24) in 1994 to 23 percent in 2002. The age of first sex is also getting younger. Based on the 2002 survey, 1.2 percent of both young males and females have already engaged in sex before they turn 13 years old. Before reaching 18 however, the probability of engaging in sex increased sharply for males (28 percent) while 12 percent would have done so among females.

Previous analyses conducted by the UP Population Institute on the sexual behavior of Filipino youth have highlighted the increasing influence of peers on young people's decision whether or not to engage in sex. Peers have also been cited as important source of information regarding sex and reproductive health matters, along with the media.

[2] While nearly all (95%) young adults have heard of HIV/AIDS, 73% believe there is no chance of them getting HIV/AIDS.

[3] The percentage of young adults who think that AIDS is curable more than doubled between 1994 and 2002. In 1994, only 12.5% thought that there was a cure to HIV/AIDS. This increased to 28% in 2002.

[4] More males than females are familiar with sexually-transmitted diseases (70% vs. 63%) although males are more likely to think that AIDS is curable (30% for males vs. 26% for females).

[5] Thirty two per cent of Filipino teenagers (15-19 years old) knew that their single female friends are sexually active while 38 percent said that their single male friends have already engaged in sex. This interesting information provides yet another clue on the extent of sexual activity among Filipino teenagers.

In addition, their report on their friends' sexual activity also shows some degree of awareness on the possible consequences of sexual activity. They said that half of their female friends who have engaged in premarital sex got pregnant. Of this proportion, 4 out of 5 pushed through with the pregnancy and slightly more than half of those who went through with the pregnancy eventually married the father of their kids.

Among their unmarried male friends on the other hand, 4 in 10 claimed that their friends got somebody pregnant. Out of this number, 2 in 5 ended up marrying the mother of their kids.
I strongly support sexual abstinence and purity programs such as True Love Waits and Silver Ring Thing. One author I highly recommend to you (whether you are a mother or father, a teenager, a pastor or youth director) is Dannah Gresh.

Resources on sexual purity before and during marriage by Dannah Gresh

Dannah’s websites are www.purefreedom.org, www.secretkeepergirl.com and www.dannahgresh.com. Her books on sexual purity before and during marriage are “And the Bride Wore White”, “Pursuing the Pearl”, and “Secret Keeper Girl”.

November 2006, I gave a lecture for the BMP-HELP pastors conference in Tagaytay City. Rushing home to Manila in the afternoon, I got to OMF Lit Bookstore in Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong just before 5 PM. From the love gift given to me by the pastors, I was able to buy at nearly seven hundred pesos the very last copy of “And the Bride Wore White”. Several months later, I gave this book as a graduation gift to the love of my life. She is the second most beautiful woman in the universe. Who is the most beautiful woman in the universe, you ask? Well, who else but movie actress Angel Locsin!

In the Purefreedom website, Dannah and her husband Bob, explain what their ministry to young men and women is all about:
It is the mission of Pure Freedom to equip men and women of all ages to live a vibrant life of purity, to experience healing from past impurity if it exists in their lives, and to experience a vibrant, passionate marriage which portrays the love Christ has for his Bride the church.(Ministry verse: Ephesians 5:31,32)

Pure Freedom provides resources with radically-unique approaches to focus on specific issues that teen girls and/or guys face in the area of purity and holiness. Our events, the hallmark of our ministry, are about sexual purity and yet they are much more about the totality of a life submitted to the will of God in a quest to enjoy the blessings of His plan.

We believe that the temptation to fail sexually comes in different forms for girls and for boys. We also believe that they will one day enjoy God's gift of sex within the confines of marriage for different reasons. Whereas the girls are primarily emotionally driven, the guys are primarily driven by sight. Because of this dichotomy, it is vital that we educate them separately and emphasize different areas of temptation.
In their seminars for young men and women, Dannah and Bob have expounded on the Bible’s principles on sexual purity through their discussion of the Hebrew word "yada". In their website, they explain that "yada" is used to both refer to holy sexuality as in that between Adam and Eve AND to refer to the holy knowing that a man can know with God. It speaks of the emotional and spiritual nature of a relationship.

Seven secrets to sexual purity

Dannah, in her book “And the Bride Wore White”, discusses the following secrets to maintaining sexual purity:
[1] Purity is a process.
[2] Purity dreams of its future.
[3] Purity is governed by its value.
[4] Purity speaks boldly.
[5] Purity loves its Creator at any cost.
[6] Purity embraces wise guidance.
[7] Purity watches burning flames.
Dannah does not simply discuss things at a theoretical level. One of the very practical tips she gives in her book on how teenagers can stay sexually pure is to stay public and stay vertical.

The quest for a pure, passionate marriage

The second book by Dannah Gresh which I have read is “Pursuing the Pearl (it was a gift from Bro. David Witta and his family from Massachusetts, USA). In this book, she discusses what she calls “The Enemy’s Fake Pearls” which are [1] status and stuff; [2] social acceptance; [3] giving up and starting over; [4] pride and dreams.

Locally, this book costs around four hundred pesos. That is quite steep, but what Dannah says in page pages 62 and 63 are worth the price of the book. She warns her readers, “Sexual impurity is a zero tolerance arena. You are on shaky ground if there are emotional bonds being created between you and another man (or your husband and another woman).” Dannah explains that these bonds begin with little things like:
  • Innocently having lunch alone with a man

  • Seeking advice from a man about personal issues, especially marital issues

  • Seeking or accepting frequent praise or affirmation from the same man

  • Being or becoming comfortable with being alone in an office or a home together

  • Intentionally seeking out time to be with this man

  • Manipulating your schedule to see him

  • Spending time fantasizing about him

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