I've read a couple of responses that you have given to other people and I find them very helpful. This site is just the site that I've been looking for to help me with my situation. I have a couple of questions and I was wondering if you could help me out.
I'm presently engaged in a relationship with a guy whom I believe I will marry in the near future. We have touched each other a couple times in the private areas, but I have never had sexual intercourse before and plan to wait until I'm married to do so.
I guess I did it to kind of control the way I felt at the moment instead of having sex. My question is: Does it mean that I'm not a virgin because of what we did? He never placed his finger inside me and I never bled, so is it still bad?
In addition to this, one time close to when I was to graduate from high school, we were 17 at the time, our friend invited us to have lunch with her and a couple other friends for her birthday. While in the restaurant everyone was having fun and then our friends dared us to take part in what was supposed to be our pretend wedding. While doing it we both felt like it was real -- blanking out everybody else. It just felt so real. The next morning I woke up expecting everything to be normal, but surprisingly I still had the same feeling, and when he called me he too felt the same way. My questions to this are:
- Are we really married even though it happen the way it did?
- Is it safe to say that I'm married to him now and we can make it official later on?
There are two issues which are coming to a head in your first question. You tried to get close to sin without crossing the line. You foolishly thought that if you only went part way that you avoid sin. Yet Paul stated, "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (I Corinthians 7:1). By "touching" Paul is referring to sexual touching. You are so focused on whether you are still a virgin or not that you missed the real point: you and your boyfriend committed a sin. You aroused sexual passion in each other, which you had no rights doing. You behaved in a lewd and lustful manner. "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14). You need to ask forgiveness for your sins from God and do what is right.
Ideally all young men and women should come to their marriage as virgins -- sexually inexperienced. But there is no requirement in the Bible that only virgins can get married or that only virgins will have successful marriages. People who have broken God's covenant concerning sex will have a harder time keeping their marriage covenant, but that isn't to say it is impossible. I've known many couples who overcame a bad start to have highly successful marriages. This is not to excuse bad behavior, but don't make rules and restrictions for yourself that God never placed.
I don't know how far you two went in your fooling around -- and I would rather not know. I don't think it is proper to focus on exactly where the line is between being sexually experienced or not. Such an attitude tries to see how close a person can get to sin without sinning. What you and your boyfriend did was wrong, and that is sufficient to say it needs to be corrected. God looks at who you are, not who you were. "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23).
The point I was making in "Can a woman give birth to her firstborn and remain a virgin?" is that when God called Mary a virgin, it meant she had no sexual experience from which she could have gotten pregnant. In your case, if your boyfriend climaxed and ejaculated, there was a remote possibility that you could have gotten pregnant. If such had happened, we could not say you had remained a virgin in such a circumstance.
In regards to the second question: No, you were not married. Marriage takes place when covenant vows are exchanged. "Yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant" (Malachi 2:14). Feelings don't make a covenant and they don't establish a marriage. I don't know where you live, but in most places the government states that teenagers cannot enter into a contractual or covenant relationship. You have to be above the age of majority, which is 18 in most states in the United States (it is 19 in Nebraska). So legally it would not be a marriage recognized in any state today. I don't know what was said either, but given the environment at the time, it cannot be claimed that there were honest vows taking place. Another point is that for a covenant to take place, there must be witnesses to the vow. Your friends were there, but they witnessed two people playing at getting married, not an actual marriage.
I'm happy that you have dreams of a future wedding with this young man and I wish you a lifetime of happiness. However, don't search for ways to excuse sins that you commit. Be honest with yourself and with God. When you do wrong, confess it. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (I John 1:8-10). And once you properly deal with your sins, move on and strive harder not to repeat the mistakes of your past.