What is needed, he said, is "a catechumenate for marriage...men and women are needed who help young people to mature."
And this begins with small things, such as marriage preparation, he said, adding that "it's important to love each other and receive the sacrament, and then have the party you want." However, it is never acceptable for "the second to take the place of the most important."
He also spoke about the importance of educating one's children, but noted that this is not easy for parents, especially in a virtual world, which "they know better than us."
The pope also pointed to the increasing difficulty for families to spend time with their children, especially in times of social and economic crisis.
"To earn money today one has to have two jobs, the family is not considered," he said, and encouraged parents to take up this "cross" and the excessive hours of work, while also spending time playing with their children.
"Children are the greatest gift," he said, even when they are sick. Children, he said, must be "received as they come, as God sends them."
However, alluding to the growing trend to be "childless by choice," Francis noted that there are people who simply don't want children, and pointed to a couple who did not want to have kids, but who instead had three dogs and two cats.
Francis closed his speech talking about the need for patience in married life, saying "there are life situations of strong crisis, terrible, and even times of infidelity come."
"There are many women – but also at times men – who in silence wait, looking the other way, waiting for their husband to return to being faithful." This, he said, is "the holiness that forgives because it loves."