I will like to first thank you for the work you do. I have a problem that is bothering me, and I would like to seek answers.
I met a lady while in my second year at university. We dated for a while, but we had many challenges as we disagree on a lot of issues. We broke up and after a month she called to say that she was pregnant. After she gave birth, in our culture you choose to marry or opted out by paying compensation. I opted to pay compensation and not marry her. I clearly discussed my decision with my uncle, which he ignored, and he married the lady on my behalf without my consent.
Though we have engaged in sexual encounters in the past, I still hold a view that the marriage was not legitimate because my consent was not given. This has resulted in countless repeated arguments.
I don't stay with her though, but I do visit certain times. She doesn't know where I stay and where I work.
This is really affecting me. I want to know if leaving such a relationship and marrying another will result in adultery.
Typically what you describe would be called a forced marriage, but it is far more commonly done to females than males. But there are some aspects would say that even this would not apply because you did not give your consent at all. In most cases of forced marriage, the problem is that the consent to marry was forced from one party. While cases of forced marriages are known to exist, mostly in Africa and southern Asia, the official laws of most countries forbid forced marriages.
In Christianity, a marriage is based on a covenant (Malachi 2:14). A covenant vow must be willingly given by both parties, no one can make the vow for you. There must be witnesses to this agreed vow and there must be a record that the vow exists. See: Marriage Covenants. From my understanding, none of this exists. Even if there is a witnessed record that your uncle made the vow on your behalf, there is no evidence that you gave your uncle the right to speak on your behalf. Therefore, based on what you've told me, this marriage does not exist.
You committed fornication and a child resulted. You are responsible for seeing that this child is taken care of. It is not the child's fault that you and his mother sinned. I hope that you have given up your sexual sins (Hebrews 13:4; I Corinthians 6:9-10). I mention this because you stated you visit the woman periodically.
Thank you very much for your response. I understand the issues much better now.
It's has been bothering me for some time now because a marriage committee chairman at a local church told me it's marriage and if I marry another person, it will constitute adultery. This is really worrying me.
I am taking care of the child and that is not a problem.
From your explanation, too, it sounds to me that if I consider marrying her then we need to go through another marriage ceremony.
If you did not attend the original ceremony, it would not be another marriage ceremony for you. But, yes, if you do decide to marry this woman, then you will need to properly marry her and establish a covenant with her.
People do get their information wrong. It could be that the marriage committee you spoke with never bothered to look into whether non-consensual marriages are legitimate because the practice is accepted in your culture. There is also the possibility that you didn't mention something that would have shown that you did give your consent (such as attending the wedding and not voicing your objection).
A "marriage committee" sounds like denominational trappings to me. See: We Are Simply Christians Without Being Members of Any Denomination. You Can Be Too!