The family is born of this project of love that wishes to grow, as one builds a house that becomes the locus of affection, help, hope and support. Just as God's love is stable and lasts forever, we want the love on which a family is based to be stable and to last forever. —Pope Francis
In a Valentine's Day message from the Vatican, Pope Francis encouraged young people in a tweet to get married.
The tweet comes on the heels of a large gathering in St. Peter's Square the same day, where, according to Official Vatican Network, the pope met with 10,000 engaged couples to celebrate the joys of marriage, give advice on how to have a happy and fruitful relationship and encourage those who may be hesitant about taking that step.
"The family is born of this project of love that wishes to grow, as one builds a house that becomes the locus of affection, help, hope and support. Just as God's love is stable and lasts forever, we want the love on which a family is based to be stable and to last forever," the pope said.
He described marriage as "an art, a patient, beautiful and fascinating journey," but also warned that "we must not allow ourselves to be conquered by a 'throwaway culture,’ ” which makes divorce an easy option.
Some of the benefits of marriage that the pope spoke of were documented in a study by the University of Virginia's National Marriage Project in March of 2013.
The study found that the average age of marriage in America is 29 for men and 27 for women.
And while the study examines the pros and cons of marrying later, it did find that married people were more likely to be satisfied with their lives than their single or cohabitating counterparts.
"Thirty-five percent of single men and cohabitating men report they are 'highly satisfied' with their life, compared to 52 percent of married men. Likewise, 33 percent of single women and 29 percent of cohabitating women are 'highly satisfied,' compared to 47 percent of married women," according to the study.
Claudio Lavanga of NBC News mingled with couples gathered in St. Peter's Square where the event had to be moved from an event hall inside the Vatican due to the overwhelming number of people that attended — 25,000 people, married and single from more than 28 countries.
"In a way there is no more appropriate place for lovers to spend the day. Valentine’s Day is named after a priest who was killed in the 3rd century for marrying Christian couples during the Roman Empire," Lavanga said.