Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
While there are many types of partners in the world, the only partnership that God recognizes is the institution of marriage.
There are civil unions, domestic partnerships, cohabitations, and LATs in which partners live apart but are committed to each other. All of these are common in some areas, but God does not endorse them. In the truest sense of the word, they are not marriages.
The term marriage itself refers to a spiritual relationship endorsed by God. A marriage has three ultimate purposes: it provides a companion for life, sanctioned intimacy and procreation, and an example of the covenant relationship of Christ to the church. All three comprise a Christian marriage. Christians are highly offended when anyone tries to apply the term "marriage" to any relationship other than one ordained by God.
We enjoy a covenant relationship with the Savior because we are part of the bride of Christ. He has made promises to the church, His bride, and we have made promises to Him. When we enter a marriage partnership, we demonstrate our spiritual relationship with Christ daily based on love, trust, and faith.
We have fallen in love with our mate like we have fallen spiritually in love with Jesus. We can all truthfully say, "Falling in love with Jesus was the best thing that ever happened to me."
Marriage serves not only as a social contract but also as a spiritual relationship that mirrors the covenant between Christ and the church. African-American couples should view their marriages as a reflection of their faith and values, emphasizing love, trust, and faith in both their earthly relationships and their relationship with God.
In God's eyes, marriage is the only recognized form of partnership. Therefore, African Americans are encouraged to value and prioritize the institution of marriage over other forms of relationships like civil unions or cohabitation.