There are two kinds of “Common-law marriages” which are known as “Non-ceremonial marriages” where a couple may be considered married without having formally registered their relation as a civil or religious marriage. The first one is actually set up under a LEGAL FRAMEWORK where a couple presents themselves to others as being married and organizing their relation as if they were married. The second is a NON-LEGAL marriage where they simply live together for a period of time and because of this long-term cohabitation, they are considered a married couple even though they don’t speak of themselves as married. But these “marriages” are only recognized in a small number of states in the United States and they are NOT recognized by God. When God ordained marriage, we read that He took the woman He had made for Adam and “brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22). In other words, God “presented the woman to Adam” and an official part of the “marriage ceremony.” It was then that Adam was able to say, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (verse 23) and God said that Adam was “joined to his wife” and that that they had “become one flesh” (verse 24). In that formal act God had joined the two together (see Matthew 19:4-6). In most “religious ceremonies for marriage” the one officiating asks, “And who gives this woman to this man?” and then the father (or some other relative) will say “I do” or “Her mother and I do.” This “presenting the woman to the man by the father” is no doubt taken from the scripture cited above where “God presented the woman to Adam to be his wife.” So, I do not believe your cohabitation with the first lady could “be considered as marriage” in the eyes of God and thus you would be allowed to marry the second lady without anyone accusing you of adultery (which would be the case if you had actually officially married the first lady; see Matthew 19:9).

I suppose I could end my answer there, but I feel compelled to address another issue. Scripture is very clear that if a man and woman live together and engage in a sexual relationship BEFORE marriage, they are guilty of FORNICATION. The word “fornication” is defined as “sexual intercourse between people not married to each other.” In Ephesians 5:3 we read, “But FORNICATION and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints.” In 1st Corinthians 6:9 the apostle Paul said, “Do you now know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither FORNICATORS, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites.” These verses show us how serious this sin is in the eyes of God. I am thankful that you are wanting to “do what is right according to scripture” when it comes to marriage. Now I hope and pray that you will see that living together in sexual relations with these “two ladies” was not pleasing to God and that you will confess this sin to God. If you are a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you will be forgiven of this sin and restored to happy fellowship with God the Father. 1st John 1:9 declares, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If you have not yet turned to the Lord Jesus as your Savior, I would encourage you to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31; see also John 1:12; 3:14-16, 36; 5:24; and 10:24-30).  (470.3)  (DO)