I Feel Uneasy. Should I Confess to my Parents?

I’m a born-again Christian. I trust in God and His Word. I’ve been raised by my dear godly parents who love the Lord. They’re the ones who gave me the Word of God since I was a child. They taught me holiness, sexual purity, etc…

Nearly two years ago, I fell in love with a Christian girl who loves the Lord. With the permission of both our parents, we have been courting for nearly two years now. There were times that we began kissing and touching (like pressing her breasts). We also showed each other our private parts, which we regretted afterward. We’ve never had intercourse in our life and we both agreed to wait for sex until the wedding day.

My parents taught me never to touch a girl until and unless I’m married to her. Yesterday, my mother asked me, “My son, you have never touched her, right?”

Now I feel guilty and uneasy. I want to confess to them (even though my girlfriend and I have confessed it to God). Please help me. I don’t want to hurt my parents.

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32 replies
  1. Hott4you says:

    It sounds like you are in love. That is good.
    Mother's know sometimes when we are troubled.
    They love you and understand sex and desire in marriage.
    They had you!
    I would sit both of them down and talk.
    U are going to marry right?
    The Bible says in Romans.. there is NOW NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus.
    Satan wants you to fall. Her too.
    Face your fear and the fear , loneliness and shame will run , hide and fall away.
    Trust me

    • SE27 says:

      Yes, I'm going to marry her. Please pray for me. It's gonna be tough. Thank you for helping me. God bless you Hott4you

  2. PacMan says:

    It sounds like your parents love you and want what’s best for you. You should be honest, even if it disappoints them. Also, good news! Holiness and Purity only come from one place – Jesus Christ. So if you confessed to Him, then you are pure as white snow!

  3. ATrain says:

    Definitely not. As you are (presumably) an adult man, this issue isn’t something you are accountable to your parents for. Your parents intruding into this issue is an inappropriate crossing of boundaries. I would respond to any further inquiries along these lines:
    “Mom/Dad, you’ve always taught me the importance of godliness in my sexual life, and I am so thankful for that. It’s what (fiancée) and I believe and are trying to live out. But in keeping with the biblical model of “leaving and cleaving” I think it’s best to keep discussions about that aspect of our relationship just between us and God.”

    And then if they are hurt by it, that is on them and they will just need time to work through that. Marriage has lots of issues like this where you have to show parents – even if they have very good intentions – that you and your wife aren’t under their authority, even as you seek to honor and love them.

  4. Soulman says:

    I’m not sure where to begin here. I’m assuming you’re now a young man?
    My first thought in reading this post is how strange for a grown woman to ask a grown man (other than her husband) that question.
    Confess to God, ask forgiveness of your girlfriend but I, personally, don’t think you owe your parents anything here. Confession and forgiveness closes and heals wounds. I personally don’t think your parents have been sinned against here…and this was not a public sin so they are unaware of it. So bringing it up with them will only create wounds.

    My advice is that if you two are committed to each other and have your parent’s blessing…..Get Married!! Courting for two years, for most, is playing with Fire. Love is made that way…your bodies are made that way. It’s not a matter of if this happens again, but when..

  5. SecondMarge says:

    To lie is a sin. “Pressing” your girlfriend’s breast is not. […] If doing the 'I’ll show you mine if you show me yours' made you feel guilty, you might want to seek counseling. If you are adults, it’s your decision what the two of you do sexually. If your parents are making that decision you probably are not ready to marry. This is more of a religious topic than a sexual one. That means you should follow your belief, not anyone here’s opinion.
    Being a virgin at the time of first marriage is now fallen to under 3% in the US. A poll of MH was about 50%. What others think, even your parents, should only be taken into consideration, not make your decision for you.
    Either tell them the truth or tell them it’s between you and your future wife. But do not lie to them. And don’t feel guilty for not following what is right for them, or they say you should do.

    • PatientPassion says:

      (Before I begin, I hope my responses are properly directed at your comment, and that your main point was not substantially affected by the "[…]" indicating that something may have been removed by the MH team.)

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be saying that the "pressing" and "parts showing" is not a problem. In some contexts, perhaps not. But in any remotely sexual context outside of marriage, I fail to see how it's not a problem. Yes it's their decision to make, but that doesn't mean it's the right one. Of course there are worse things, but I believe it still falls short of the standard that God calls us to.

      On that same topic, an underlying Biblical theme seems to be that God (not always, but often) cares more about the state of our hearts in a given act than the act itself. Even if we assume that it's possible to do that kind of thing with a right heart, I think the people who could manage that are very few and far between. For that reason, I think the original poster's guilt is not misplaced. Of course, that guilt should now be gone, but only because of forgiveness, not because it was never wrong in the first place, because I believe it was.

      I would also contend that the statistics about virginity at the point of marriage are entirely irrelevant to this particular discussion. They indicate reality, but not what is right, and it is certainly no excuse to allow yourself to fail simply because the statistics show most people fail.

      With that said, I agree that the young man posting should not have his decisions made for him by his parents. But based on what we know of the situation, I believe he has some obligation to follow their guidance, or at the very least, carefully consider their teaching.

    • SecondMarge says:

      You may fail the see my viewpoint of their actions but I indeed see nothing they have done that I consider wrong.

      We clearly have very different beliefs. I see no benefit to debating which of our beliefs are “better” or meet with God’s approval. As neither of our views would change. Nor do I want to insult your beliefs even though I think they have been found invalid and because of that are disappearing.

      The statistics show two things. Many people say remain a virgin until married but almost no one does. I did not even know anyone was still of the opinion that there should be no touching before marriage except in some extremist countries. Secondly as we gain knowledge and mature as God intended us to, we dismiss some rules established not by him but by men who had an obsession with sex as an evil act.

      The simplest analogy is how much of a woman’s body is covered at the beach. Neck to ankle was once considered necessary by those of conservative beliefs. Showing skin was evil. Now three small patches of cloth strategically located are sufficient.

      So no, I don’t think anything they did was against God's will. The worst thing was the guilt he felt because someone convinced him the acts were bad.

    • PacMan says:

      Hi PatientPassion… I love your thoughtfulness, insights, and questions you raise in many of your comments. You clearly have a desire to follow God wholeheartedly. I don’t say this as a harsh criticism, just a gentle nudge from someone who has been around the block a few times. PLEASE be careful about confusing God-appointed rules and man-made rules. It is a total pet peeve of mine and so I’m a bit hyper sensitive when I see it. As you stated in a later comment, the advice in THIS situation is completely tempered by the age of the OP. However if they are consenting adults, they have some liberties. The Bible calls fornication a sin (sex prior to marriage), but any way you slice it (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek), that word is defined ONE way: intercourse. Does this mean that any and all “other” sexual contact prior to marriage is good and healthy? No. But the main reason it is not good is because it often leads couples into going all the way. Physical relationships are almost always progressing in a forward direction… they’re not going backwards. But I truly believe the “pressing” and “parts” stuff are NOT sinful acts. It becomes wrong if both parties set specific boundaries and they are not honoring them. Otherwise, it is 100% good & normal & healthy for a betrothed adult to have sexual desires in his/her heart for their significant other. I have a difficult time listening to talk about “God’s standards” when it is really man-made rules. I think it’s dangerous to say that someone expressing sexuality (while not fornicating) somehow reflects that their heart is in a “wrong place.” It’s just simply not cool to take “underlying themes” of the Bible, and then make man-made rules, and then call them “God’s standards.” Brother, I’m not trying to come down on you. I actually sense you have a good/steadfast heart. And I confess I am way more sensitive than most about these things. It’s my desire that we are all slow to judge… especially issues of the heart. (And I fail at this… Lord help us all!) {And if this raises more Qs for you, let me know & I’ll dialogue in a civil manner – iron sharpens iron.}

    • PatientPassion says:

      SecondMarge and PacMan, your criticisms are valid, and I thank you for your detailed yet respectful critiques. It wasn't right of me to imply I had God's standard on my side without having a clear biblical source to cite.

      SecondMarge, I believe you're correct and wise to say that debating this issue would be unproductive, at least at this time and in this context. I would only clarify my position: while my view is quite conservative, I don't believe that there should be strictly "no touching before marriage," but more accurately "very limited *sexual* touching before marriage." I would also say that I don't believe my views are exactly uncommon in the Christian community. I suppose it depends on what denomination(s) you interact with or relate to the most.

      Though I'm not comfortable giving ground on this issue, right now at least, I will certainly be giving it some more serious thought. In fact I've long considered starting a more in-depth discussion post about what is and is not okay before marriage. Hopefully in that context sometime in the future, I can better articulate why I believe what I do.

      PacMan, you are right that I made it seem far more cut and dried than it really is, and may have conflated God's rules with Man's rules because of my lack of biblical citation. To my knowledge, you are right that the Bible is not clear on precisely where the line is drawn, except to say that intercourse specifically is off limits. But with that said, I feel that various biblical principles related to love, honor and respect imply (though do not clearly state) that the line should be drawn far short of intercourse.

      Perhaps my particular experiences and personality (very loyal, careful and deep-feeling) cause an over-protective view of sex that may or may not be entirely right. Perhaps I have come to see sex as such an unbelievably beautiful thing that my beliefs tell me to go to almost any length to make sure it is not misused. (This of course isn't meant to imply you hold an improper view of the beauty of sex, which I do not believe is the case.) Or perhaps God in his love and wisdom has shaped my beliefs so that I view sex in the way that he knows will be most fulfilling for me personally.

      Whatever the case is, you are at the very least right to criticize my overly simplified stance expressed earlier, which is admittedly not directly backed by the Bible. I will certainly take these thoughts to heart and try to find a better way to articulate them, and perhaps find a better rationale for, or even against them. I do appreciate your offer to work this out with me. At this point though, I'm not sure what questions I can ask beyond what I've already begun asking myself: What exactly do I believe and why? (I'm also grateful you recognized and acknowledged my heart for following God and seeking truth. That is indeed what I'm trying to do, since I find those to be two of the most deeply important things in life. I could even consider it one goal rather than two, since Christ is "the truth.")

      Based partly on this wise feedback, I think it prudent to withhold further defense of my views until a more appropriate time and context, perhaps in the near future. Thank you both again, SecondMarge and especially PacMan, for your constructive criticism. It will undoubtedly result in my beliefs being made stronger and closer to the truth, even if that means they have to shift a little first.

  6. Hotnorthern says:

    If you are courting/dating someone and are an adult, I don’t believe is necessary to tell your parents. If you have disappointed your own standards, that is between you and your girlfriend and God. Bringing your parents into it would be highly destructive to your relationship with each other. They definitely need to stay out of it. I wish you the best and hope you are able to build a happy future together.

  7. RMD says:

    There is no need to hurt your parents just to ease your conscience. God forgave you the first time you asked Him. Allow yourself to be human. You are not a sinner; you are, like all believers, a Christian who struggles with sin. We so often carry a load of guilt that we want to get out by telling others, but that can be selfish – relieving yourself of guilt while giving pain and grief to the someone else. Accept God’s forgiveness, but first you have to admit that at that moment you were bad enough to do what you believe is wrong. It’s great that you have a tender conscience, but that can also keep you bound up with shame and guilt. It is forgiven, now get up and move on. Stop living with what the omniscient God has chosen to forget.

  8. carmelsk says:

    Either a) reply with “Mom, I believe it’s not appropriate for you to ask a grown man, even your son, that question, “ b) don’t reply; let the question hang, or c) reply with the truth. In the context of my life experiences, such a question suggests controlling behavior. Perhaps in your context, it does not suggest that. If it does suggest that, and it’s not checked, it will continue after you’re married.

  9. ArtRutherford says:

    Well…I tend to agree with all of the above. Bringing your parents into it is none of their business. You are an adult and can make adult decisions.

  10. JJ says:

    Absent from your post is a clear indication of your age and your girlfriend’s age, which in my opinion, is necessary to provide the proper advice. The advice I would provide to minor children (<18) is different than what I would say to adults (>18).

    • MarriageHeat says:

      Since the guidelines state that this site is intended for those who have reached the age of majority, we prefer you answer with that assumption.

    • JJ says:

      With the presumption of neither you nor your girlfriend being minors, you must not allow your parents to intrude upon the privacy of your relationship. If you two are going to get married you do not want to set a precedence of allowing your parents to interfere in your relationship, the interference is not likely to end with this question. They want the best for you, in their own sets of values, beliefs and ideals, but that may not be what is actually best for you and your wife. Believe me, parents never forget the “sins” of the spouse who corrupted their innocent child.
      I agree with others who have said you have to find a way to express to your parents in a loving and respectful manner that your private life is private, and that you and your girlfriend are working out issues in your relationship in a manner that honors God. They may not like the answer and may even be hurt by your adult expectation of privacy; that’s their problem not yours. Stop the intrusive behavior now before your relationship is damaged.
      The two of you may want to seek the counsel of a pastor, perhaps outside your church if the views of your pastor mirrors your parents.
      God’s grace is sufficient for all of you.

  11. PatientPassion says:

    At first, I was surprised that the comments so far have been mostly discouraging a confession. I initially thought you should tell them the truth, but the other comments brought up some very valid points about your own independence, privacy and life choices.

    It sounds like you are somewhere in the phases of adulthood or becoming an adult, but are not quite 100% independent from your parents. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but that's the general assumption I'm going with for the sake of my points.

    As you gain more maturity and independence, your parents have less authority and less of a right to inquire about details of your life. For example, if you're 17-18 and living at home, I would say you are still somewhat accountable to them. if you're 24-25 and mostly independent, you have very little, if any accountability to them. Hotnorthern's comment is succinct and mostly on-point if you're an adult. If you're in between, like a late adolescent to very early adulthood range, it's harder to judge. The general rule is that the more independence you have, the less accountability you have. It sounds like you're not completely independent, so you still have a least a little accountability to your parents.

    This is where I would disagree with the comment by ATrain. The "leave and cleave" principle is not in effect yet, because it sounds like you have neither left your parents, nor cleaved to your wife in marriage (more background would be required to confirm this). However, because "leaving" parents can be a gradual process in our culture and time, I think your accountability to your parents gradually declines too. So if you're at the point where you're gaining more significant independence, I believe ATrain's suggested response is wise, respectful and draws a healthy boundary.

    With all that said, I feel like your parents may deserve some kind of response. If you do not yet consider yourself an independent adult, you are still under their authority, even if only to a minor degree, so you should give them some kind of response. That's not a Biblical mandate or anything, it's merely a personal opinion, so take it as such.

    I would certainly not lie to them, but it would also not be appropriate to give many (or any) details about whatever happened. Consider something along the lines of what ATrain suggested, or something like this: "Looking back, there are some things we did that I think went too far, and we regret. We've asked God for forgiveness and set new boundaries to make sure we don't stray into sinful territory. I don't believe it needs any further explanation." If you want to reassure them, you can add "We did not have sex, and we're still committed to waiting for marriage." If they want more, tell them, "With all due respect, I am becoming my own man, and I need to learn to be more accountable to God and less accountable to you. I ask that you respect that and allow me to grow in this way."

    I pray that God uses this experience and time in your life to help you grow in love for him, and to grow into a better, stronger man!

  12. Old Lover says:

    If read correctly, you didn’t respond to your mother . . .

    ‘Yesterday, my mother asked me, "My son, you have never touched her, right?"

    Now I feel guilty and uneasy. I want to confess to them (even though my girlfriend and I have confessed it to God). Please help me. I don't want to hurt my parents.’

    If this is correct, don’t go back to your mother and give her an answer (based on MH’s comment, I assume your are >18). First, she should not have tried to trap you with a closed ended question that implies your guilt. Foremost, it is none of her business. As a older parent of adult children and grandchildren one of the hardest things to do is to let go of them. They are adults and I will always be their father, but I am not to parent them.

    If she comes back to ask you again, follow the example of Jesus when the Pharisees tried to trap him and ask a question. Put this question to her. ‘Would you think less of me and (my girlfriend) if we have touched each other?’ If she tries to get you to answer her first, insist that she answer your question. She will do one of three things: say nothing, say no, or say yes. Regardless of her response, say that you love her and respect what she taught you, and leave it at that.

    Don’t feel guilty! Satan wants to defeat you with any guilt AFTER you confess a sin to the Lord and the person hurt by that sin (your girlfriend). As the apostle Paul told the early Christians when sitting down to eat meat with unbelievers that may have or may not have offered it to idols, and I paraphrase, ‘Don’t ask questions that can make things uncomfortable for you and them. Don’t look to find guilt. Leave well enough alone!’

    Your mother is out of line to ask you this question. Period.

  13. SE27 says:

    My brothers and sisters in Christ, I'm really thankful to all of you for giving your valuable time to help me. I've read all your comments and they all have great values and I'm blessed by them. May God bless you and your marriage life.

    First of all, I'm sorry for not mentioning my age (which confused most of you) and for my late reply.
    I'm 24 years old. I have been in this relationship since December 2017. I met my girlfriend in church. She's 24 too.
    Last year's July, we started this courtship.

    By the way since that day, my mom had never asked me that question again. And if she does in the future, I know now how to respectfully answer her. It's all because of your help and prayers.

    Thank you MH for posting my story. You've been a blessing to me.

    God be with you all. Amen.

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