Esteemed organizers, renowned guests, dear participants,
In every time, at every moment in history, in every part of the planet, a young person who reaches sexual maturity faces similar trials. And as if that wasn’t difficult in itself, for today’s young people these temptations are made even more difficult by digital technologies, new types of addictions and the exposure of intimacy on social networks where everything remains permanently recorded. Earlier generations could afford some mistakes of the youth and adolescent flops–you have now been deprived of that by social media. Previously, someone could embarrass themselves in front of their friends, but today such events have become “cringe” moments that are seen not only by those from our circle of friends or school, but are potentially available to people of all ages and from all parts of the world. And forever. Which means, to your future employer, to your future husband or wife, and to your future mother-in-law. Social networks do not forgive anything.
The ubiquitous culture of casual dating (the so-called hook-up culture) tells you to enjoy yourself as much as you can, to take what you want from others and that you will not suffer any consequences–as long as you “protect yourself”. It is very naive to believe that we can do whatever we want without any consequences. The hypersexualized society offers you the illusion of protection, and when that protection fails, and sooner or later it must fail, various industries in that same society sell you solutions to those “problems”.
Currently, the most burning issue is the gender ideology, which denies the biological fact of man’s binary sexuality and tries to convince us that someone can be born “in the wrong body”, and that such persons need a sex change surgery–i.e. gender reassignment – as well as a lifelong therapy of hormones. There is no doubt that some people do feel incongruity with their biological sex, or feel uncomfortable in their body for various reasons–one of these are, for example, persons with anorexia. However, instead of providing psychological support and help to children and young people, gender ideologues send them to irreversible medical interventions and lifelong hormone therapy with unforeseeable consequences. The fight against this ideology in the West has been underway for a long time, and an important role in this battle is that of individuals who, at a sensitive moment in their lives, fell for the story of the “wrong body” and entered the so-called transition, only to realize their error later and go back to living in accordance with their biological sex–though with variying degrees of success.
Many feminists rightly oppose this transgender movement, because it has led to situations that a man simply says that he feels like a woman and gets free access to women’s spaces; thus we have had numerous assaults on girls and women, as well as cases of a biological male winning sports medals in women’s categories, a man accused of inflicting severe injuries and rape being placed in a women’s prison because he says he is a woman, of politicians declaring themselves women in order to meet the so-called pink quota, as well as a young man being declared homecoming queen, or the most beautiful woman, which happened last year in the USA when a biological male became Miss Nevada.
Through media, and culture–or rather anti-culture–through comprehensive sex education in the West, the world tells you that everything is allowed, that you have the right to do whatever you like, and that it is perfectly legitimate to try whatever you want and whoever you want, and that it will not affect your future marital happiness at all. However, as the Apostle Paul said, everything is permissible for us, but not everything is beneficial. And what Christianity has been telling us since its inception, science has proven today; thus we have research studies that have shown that the quality of marriage and the divorce rate are directly corelated with the premarital experience of the spouses (both men and women, not only women), as well as with the way they behaved in relationships, how they treated their boyfriend/girlfriend, with how much appreciation and respect, as well as–how much respect they had for their own body. Your bodies are the temples of the spirit, your material bodies are closely connected with your spiritual being, and it cannot be teh same whether you have given yourself to others or not, what you have put into your body, and what kind of food you have fed your eyes–and through them, your soul.
When abstinence until marriage is mentioned, people usually react with mocking laughter, saying “That’s impossible today”, “No one does that anymore”, etc. They say, isn’t it better to see if we are compatible in that important part of our life together before we, God forbid, “get stuck” with someone who is unskilled, unromantic… And so young people start trying each other out, like those perfume samples in a shop. But when you decide to buy perfume, are you going to get that open sample bottle that everyone has been using or the new, unsealed one? Will you buy a half-used lipstick sampler or a new lipstick? Why new, if it’s all the same?
Do not fall for the lie that today no one abstains until marriage and that it is impossible. First, that this is indeed possible we can see because of our monks and nuns who live in celibacy. Second, no one asks you to abstain your entire life, but only until you find the one person you want to marry. And third, throughout the world and here in Serbia there are many people who have decided to abstain until marriage–I personally know several couples who lived that way until they got married–and for those who do decide to live that way, there is advice available, support groups and various resources on the internet (both in Serbian and English) that can help them on this path.
On her YouTube channel “There is hope” our Sanja Stanković, a psychologist, posted several videos covering the most common misconceptions and doubts when it comes to abstinence, and I recommend that you watch them.
Everyone generally agrees that we live in crazy times, that society is abnormal, that values are turned upside down–and yet we speak with derision about those who decided not to live by the rules of that abnormal society. If society is sick, if there are more and more unhappy people in society, if divorce numbers are skyrocketing, if that is the majority in society–then why would we want to be part of such a majority? Why would we want to fit in with that sick society? Isn’t it exactly a sign of mental and spiritual health and maturity–the desire to be different from that society and from that majority?
On Instagram and YouTube you can find pages of a young woman named Emily Wilson, who abstained from intercourse until marriage, is now married and has two children, and who talks in a very plain and understandable way about all the doubts about waiting until marriage, about what her relationship with her husband was like when they dated–because no one says you shouldn’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, only that we need to know what the purpose of dating should be–then, she talks about their first wedding night (they were both virgins), she answers all the usual questions and comments (before marriage: oh, you’re only abstaining until you meet the right guy, you had better do it before the first wedding night because then you won’t enjoy it, what if you two are not compatible in bed…); she talks about important issues that you should you talk to a guy/girl before marriage to determine if you have similar life and ethical values, because, believe me, yes, marital love is very important, no one denies that, but when choosing a person to marry, remember that you need someone with whom you’ll be able to talk about everything, because you will talk to that person much more than you’ll make love with them, and you need someone to support you in the difficult times that will surely come. You don’t need someone who will run away at the first sign of problems or disagreements, who will shift all the responsibility onto you, but rather someone who will share the burden with you. This is exactly why dating is necessary because you have to spend some time together to see how that person treats you, how they behave to his/her family, to his/her friends and even to the homeless person in the street.
This topic is very extensive and we at the Pro-Life Center cover it in much more detail. This spring, we organized a School of Preparation for Life, a series of lectures where, among other things, we talked about how to get to know and accept ourselves, how to find the right person for us, how to recognize the one whom God intended for us, what is the purpose of premarital dating and the like. This autumn, we will organize lectures in the Student Campus in Belgrade, as well as interactive discussions with young people in our premises on topics such as this one. You can follow our activities through our accounts on Instagram and Facebook, and the announcements are mostly relayed by the Serbian page of iFamNews.com.
I invite you to come to our workshops to talk, to ask questions, to challenge our views so that we can show you that this way of life is truly possible, and that it is the best way you can secure the best possible starting position for the most important task in life. Our education takes 12 to 16, and even more years; that is how long we prepare for life and for our jobs, but no one prepares us for the most important venture in life, which is marriage and family.
Don’t let yourself be carried away by the currents of modern life. Swim upstream, against the tide, against the mainstream. And don’t be anyone’s sample, don’t let anyone try you out. Each of you is unique, equally valuable and equally deserving to be valued and appreciated, to be everything to one person, and not just one partner out of many. Raise the bar high, for you were bought with a price.