When one thinks of Valentine’s Day most don’t picture sharing the day of romance with the pope.
However, an estimated 25,000 future brides and grooms from 25 different countries decided they couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate the day than with a third-wheeling Pope Francis.
The Vatican held a special Valentines event in St. Peter’s Square celebrating lifelong marriages. The Valentine’s Day gathering was titled "The Joy of Yes Forever," and focused on advising young engaged couples on how to have a long and happy marriage.
However, marriage veterans like Bruno and Rita De Petris who have been married for 45 years, couldn’t help but join the crowd too. "We wanted to be here because we feel that marriage is a special part of life," Rita told Reuters.
Three couples were able to ask their own questions on marriage directly to the pope, CNN reported.
Pope Francis encouraged couples to make lasting commitments to one another and focus on enduring together to the end, AFP reported.
"Today a lot of people are scared of making definitive choices," Francis said. "Today everything is changing quickly, nothing lasts long. This sort of mentality leads so many who are getting ready for marriage to say they will be together for as long as love lasts," he said.
"Don't build your house on the sand of sentiments that come and go, but on the rock of real love," he added.
Francis also reminded couples of the old adage of never going to bed angry. "Living together is an art. It's a patient art, it's a beautiful art, it's fascinating," Francis continued.
Many wanted to find personal insight from Francis’ guidance. "We hope Pope Francis gives us a stimulus," Maria Flavia, 41, told AFP of her relationship. "Marriage is hard now. It's easy to get married and then separate and that's not what we want."