Current Events/My Culture The Royal Wedding and Our Longing for Love by Christina Longo Over 23 million Americans tuned in for the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle on Saturday, May 19th. TWENTY-THREE MILLION AMERICANS. That’s more than the number of people who tuned in for the American Idol series finale, the Stanley Cup hockey playoffs, and the Kentucky Derby earlier this month. Not only did 29 million tune in, but they did so at 4 a.m. (1 a.m. for those of us on the West Coast ). Waking up that early on a Saturday for five hours of non-stop coverage isn’t for the faint of heart and yet, millions of people, myself included, were so enamoured by this love story that they were willing to sacrifice a few hours of sleep in order to watch it unfold. via GIPHY For the past six months, magazines and reporters couldn’t seem to get enough details about this romantic day. Everything from the dress to the guest list to the music has been discussed at length. We know the florist used in-season florals, like the branches of beech, birch, and hornbeam, as well as white garden roses, peonies, and foxgloves. (I don’t even know what half of those flowers are, but weren’t they so dreamy?!) via GIPHY But why were 29 million of us so drawn to this wedding? To this marriage? To this love? Quite honestly, it comes down to our heart’s inherent longing for love. We love because God loved us first (1 John 4:19). God is love. He created us in His image and likeness and is in us. When we truly love someone, we are loving God. God, the author of love itself, is the author of marriage. The Catechism tells us that “the vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator” (CCC 1603). Even though a wedding today looks eons different than it did 50, 100, or even 2,000 years ago, marriage is not a human institution. Marriage is a gift from the Lord, a gift that has been given us since the beginning of time. Ultimately, we are drawn to this expression of love through the Sacrament, an outward sign of God’s love for us — and that’s the very thing for which our hearts were created. When I married my husband last year year, I was invited to enter into the gift of the vocation that God had given me. Our marriage wasn’t just about the wedding day or the celebration we had with our friends and family. It was about committing to lifetime of authentic love of God, through authentic love of one another —doing what is best for each other and leading each other closer to God and heaven. We know marriage isn’t simply about the romance of the wedding day or the flowers or the dress. Marriage is the outward sign of God’s unconditional love for the whole world and involves two people committing to love one another unconditionally, just as God loves us. Our hearts long to be known and loved, and marriage is a beautiful sacrament God gave us to help us know and love one another, all while drawing closer to Him. When we watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot, whether we realized it or not, we were drawn to more than just the glamour. We tuned in because it is a joy to watch two souls vow to love one another for all the days of their lives. We watched because it let us experience an outward sign of God’s love for us, and it touches us at the core of our being. We savored the day because it gives us hope for our own love stories that the Lord has written for us. So I don’t know about you, but the next time there’s a beautiful, televised wedding, I’ll be setting an early morning alarm, putting on a pot of coffee, and watching the big day unfold. And as I watch, I will be reminded of the vows my husband and I exchanged and of God’s great love for each of us.