Surveys also indicate that a majority of teens feel it's a good idea to live together prior to marriage in order to build a relationship. In the past, the Church would have collectively condemned such a suggestion. But in a culture where "The Bachelorette" picks a mate to marry in a matter of weeks from a pool of men selected by a television casting agent, we might want to take a step back and consider if our young people have a better handle on what it means to be married than the entertainment culture surrounding them.
Young couples who cohabitate tend to rate the quality of their relationships as highly as do young adults who are married. Might this mean that our youth are beginning to understand that marriage really is more about our commitment to one another than it is about legal proceedings and signing on the dotted line? As I often counsel young couples: "The marriage certificate doesn't make you married. What I say in the ceremony as the pastor doesn't make you married. You'd better be married—be committed to each other in God's love—long before you ever come to the Church. What we offer is a blessing of the connection that should already exist between the two of you."
In this regard, we can hope that the royal wedding, even with its spectacle, might offer our teens a positive example of marriage and commitment, of two young adults making a mature decision to join their lives and inviting others to witness and support that joining in a moment of shared worship.