A royal wedding; how delightful. Who wouldn't wish Prince Harry and Meghan Markle well?
It's a happy story, and very much one for our times. He's a handsome enough prince, but she is no Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. She's an intelligent and successful person in her own right, who doesn't need rescuing by anyone. And the days when his type was expected to marry someone suitable have largely gone – at least in what remains of European royalty, of which the UK's is by far the grandest and most successful survival. He can marry whom he likes, though what geneticists unromantically call 'assortative mating' means she's likely to look the part.
What, then, should Christians pray for them? Above all, perhaps, that they should be able to share as much of their lives as possible with each other, rather than with other people as well.
There is no point in praying they'll have a 'normal' life. There's no such thing; what's normal to one person is very odd to another. They will be, to a large extent, in the public eye. Both of them are used to that, but that doesn't mean they have to like it. And they will be pulled apart from each other by the demands of duty, too; Harry is well aware of what it takes to be a member of 'the Firm', as the family is called, and Ms Markle is finding out.
Every married person faces tensions as they try to find space for each other. It's likely that these two will face more than most. For many people, they represent something quite fundamental in our shared national life. The unspoken contract with the Royal Family is that it's meant to represent us at our best, as we would really like to be, which is why it's such a big deal when they fall short – and why the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are so greatly respected. In that sense, a large proportion of the population feels they have a stake in their happiness.
Furthermore, there's something about that word 'prince' that taps straight into the primal stories we hear from childhood. Princes marry beautiful princesses whom they have saved from – well, whatever – and they all live happily ever after. Mess with that storyline at your peril – and there's no shortage of ruthless paparazzi eager to point out every flaw in the perfect romance.
Hence the need to pray for their lives together. That their love will endure after the heady stage of being 'in love' passes. That they'll be able to treat other people's expectations and demands with respect, but not as particularly important. That they'll live with shared goals as well as shared affections; and that they'll experience the presence of God throughout their future together.
Everyone loves a wedding, and a royal wedding in particular. It's a sign of hope in the future. But this wedding mustn't just be a symbol of our own hopes and dreams – even ones long dashed. It's the earthy and practical coming together of two real people for life; and it's in this gritty reality that marriages are forged and God is present.
Follow Mark Woods on Twitter: @RevMarkWoods