Love is not that 3-letter word

UNWRITTEN By Maria Jorica B. Pamintuan

The Philippine Star Updated September 10, 2010 12:00 AM

The saying “good things come to those who wait” isn’t always true. Ask anyone who’s spent hours in a clinic waiting for a doctor who’ll only say that nothing more can be done without further tests. A guy courting a girl can wait years for an answer, but still get an “I’m not ready for a relationship” reply. And no matter how long a student waits for his professor to give out grades, a fail is still a fail. However, if there’s one good thing that always comes to those who wait, it’s true love, according to the organization aptly named True Love Waits.

True Love Waits (TLW) is a non-government organization that promotes purity and sexual abstinence among the youth. In essence, it believes that true love will wait until after marriage to engage in sexual activities.

Though the organization believes that sex should only be done within the confines of marriage between a man and a woman, they don’t deny that it is necessary to inform the youth about sex. Many schools and organizations around the country, including Youth for Christ and Couples for Christ, have partnered with TLW in teaching “Love Education,” which are lessons on human sexuality.

“TLW is not an anti-sex campaign; in fact we are a pro-sex organization, believing that God is the author of the act of love-making,” said Ree Soria, national media coordinator of True Love Waits Philippines. She added that that proper love education “is essential to (the youth) having a healthy and deep awareness and understanding of life.“While there is no problem with sex, pre-marital sex is and has always been an issue here. And because of its consequences — like unwanted pregnancies, a rapidly expanding population, and the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS — premarital sex has ballooned into a raging controversy. In the Philippines, there has been a spirited debate over the Reproductive Health Bill, which aims to control the many problems brought about by unprotected sex. Some people are even saying that it’s almost like a very serious (though equally colorful) game of Plants vs. Zombies.

More like Church vs. Condoms, where staunch advocates of abstinence are protecting the purity of the youth from the ever-advancing threat of contraceptives (which would enable hormone-fueled teenagers to get it on as much as they want without fear of burn or baby).

TLW acknowledges that the RH Bill is trying to protect sexually active people, and trying to solve the problems looming over the issue of premarital sex. The organization agrees that something must be done to prevent the increasing number of STD carriers, and slow population growth. However, the members believe that the solution lies not in the contraceptive methods stated in the bill, but in making the right choices at the right time.

Love Ed 101

Ree said, “Knowing the solution starts with asking the question ‘What is the root of the problem?’ The fundamental problem is that young unmarried people are having sex. Teaching teens that it is okay to have sex doesn’t give a solution to the basic problem… The intent of the bill is correct but the solution is not.”

The bill latently encourages sexual activity in the way that it addresses the problem instead of encouraging people to abstain. TLW agrees with the biblical message that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.“You can have sex with anyone you want and as many as you want — but then, there is no condom for broken hearts, shattered dreams” Ree said.

In that light, TLW recommends promoting purity and abstinence, both in school and at home. The organization has developed parenting talks such as “Indelible Parenting” to encourage moms and dads to impart life sustaining core values to their children. “The challenge today is to not entertain short-term easy solutions without resolving the basic problem of morality,” said Ree, adding that the country’s youth and national leaders must “do hard things.”

Ree noted, from both statistics and personal knowledge gleaned from years giving informational talks, that today’s youth are becoming more sexually aggressive. But TLW believes that young Filipinos are capable of choosing a better way once wrong ideas are debunked and cleared away.

TLW’s goal is not to change media as a source of sexual ideas, nor is it to convert or force teenagers to abstain. “Our goal is to give students pure choices and then expect that they will make the right choice and that it will last. Most people do not believe in the youth. We do!” Ree said.

Their faith is not unfounded. One teen heard of the True Love Waits team coming to her school and responded, “I don’t believe in the campaign so why would I even bother? But our guidance counselor was persistent in having us sit through the talk, so I gave in. After hearing what True Love Waits has to say about sexual purity and God’s love, I realized that this was no longer something I was forced into but something that was meant for me.”

With so many sources of temptation these days, giving teens a different perspective — whether they accept it or not — is not a simple task.

But, it is gratifying, and as Ree said, “The best part of being a True Love Waiter is that you become the uncommon to common people…

We are not just being different. True Love Waits is making a difference in the lives of youth.”

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