I came across you website today and read one of your question and answers topic and found it very interesting and comforting. I want to to start by apologizing for the length of this question, but here goes:
I have been studying the Bible for a long time and still thoroughly enjoy studying even now. It never gets boring and always brings out something new every time I read the gospels especially. But the dilemma I have is about marriage. In my studies and research, we find very little about this in the Bible. Sure, we read about the coming together of the patriarchs and the gatherings they had even in the days when Jesus was on earth. We read that there was a coming together of two people and as such were then married by custom. As an example Boaz and Ruth, which she laid at his feet at the threshing floor and in custom and in God's eyes were married. We see many coming together in this way throughout the Bible. Joseph taking Mary into his house was public declaration of marriage. Jesus attended a marriage feast as we know.
But researching this has brought to my attention that it was the Catholic Church who put legal requirements on the nature of marriage, I mean like the marriage certificate. Before that there was no marriage certificate or a license. The entire ritual of the marriage ceremony is pagan from the confetti to the ring and everything in between.
I am somewhat interested in this due to the fact that I used to be involved in the Jehovah's Witnesses for a long time. One day I was told it would be beneficial for me to just get up and leave my defacto partner and children because we are not married and that is wrong in the sight of God. But looking at all the evidence about the marriage ritual, and the fact that there was no such thing in the Biblical history of the act, my question is: Is it wrong? Am I in a relationship where we have never married, have great kids, and that is wrong?
Where I live, this country has a law that states that after seven years we are legally married here. I am not baptized. My partner is an unbeliever but has excepted the fact that I am. What I have gotten from the Bible is that God knows the hearts of the two people coming together. Have I have understood is all the God requires?
There is a difference between researching a subject to justify what you want to believe and researching a subject to find out all that is taught.
I notice that you refer to the woman you live with as your partner and not your wife. While your country accepts people was married who lived together for seven years, what were you during the first six years? Were you not committing fornication by having sex together without being married? While your government accepts this, it remains a sin in the laws of Christ. "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). Living together is not a marriage because there are no covenant vows binding you together. "... she is your companion and your wife by covenant" (Malachi 2:14). See: Marriage Covenants for a list of verses establishing the various aspects of a marriage covenant. You cannot get something good (marriage) from doing evil (fornication). "And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), "Let us do evil that good may come"? Their condemnation is just" (Romans 3:8).
Ruth laying at Boaz's feet did not make them married. The event happened in Ruth 3, but they did not get married until Ruth 4:13, after Boaz established before the elders his right to marry Ruth as the nearest available kin to her ex-husband. Joseph also married Mary after his vision of the angel. "And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife" (Matthew 1:24). True, the exact details of the marriage are not recorded, but the fact that they became husband and wife indicates that they became married.
Stop pretending to be married to this woman. Get married.
In the same way, stop pretending to be a believer and actually commit your life to Christ. See: What Saves a Person?