Unity Table Final

As we plan and prepare for Michelle’s wedding there are items that uniquely fall onto my list such as the table for the unity portion of the ceremony. For an outdoor wedding planned for a beautiful garden in January in North Carolina, I know that table better show up on time and make a statement. I had two must-haves when I started the project: 1) a triangular base and 2) a top made from a live-edged slab. Interested readers can view the construction details at Wedding Unity Table.

I recently completed Michelle’s Rustic Dining Room Light to match the farm table and benches we designed a few years earlier. I harvested the maple slab for the light from our front yard, from a tree Michelle climbed as a child. I thought a wedding table using natural wood might tie in nicely with the theme.

Why choose a triangular base, especially an equilateral triangle?

Geometry buffs recall that an equilateral triangle has 60 degree angles at each vertex. Woodworking buffs on the other hand know that the chop saw maxes out at 45 degrees. Why on earth would I make life difficult by specifying angles that cannot be easily cut on the available equipment? As I shared in the construction article I learned from a master trim carpenter how to make those sixty degree cuts repeatedly and accurately. Whew!

The triangle is a strong structure. Take a field trip to the attic and examine the trusses supporting the roof. In a stick-built house the triangle shape is readily seen. With preformed trusses the triangles might be harder to find. The weight of snow and the forces of the wind are easily handled by those triangles. The shape is not easily skewed as a rectangle might be.

In a typical marriage there are forces that pound against the relationship. Anything the husband and wife do to strengthen the bond becomes a worthwhile investment but understand that there are no short cuts. Books and blogs that promise “10 steps to a perfect marriage in only 10 minutes a day” resemble the old traveling huckster with his snake oil wagon. Building and keeping a marriage relationship is not a trivial exercise. It takes hard work,time and energy.

Viewing the marriage as a love triangle (the man, the woman,and God) is a great place to begin. Go back and browse the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis and count the number of times the word good is used.

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:31 NASB

The first mention of something that was not good came as God acknowledged that Adam’s aloneness needed improving in the next chapter.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 NASB

The Lord God fashioned a woman and brought her to the man in the first ever marriage. God created the institution. He thought up the whole thing, and He is most qualified to decree how it operates.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother,and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 NASB

Here are the key points:

  • A marriage consists of a man and his wife.
  • The couple is to leave. They become a new family unit, every bit as valid as what Mom and Dad have going on back home.
  • The couple is to join (or cleave as the old King James Version puts it). Their priority allegiance shifts to spouse above all else.
  • The couple becomes one flesh. That describes a permanent condition. Think of something put together with epoxy not school paste!

Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24 during His ministry and added an explanation.

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Matthew 19:4-6 NASB

And there we have the beautiful love triangle again. God adds the strength to the relationship. The closer I get to my wife, the more I honor God. The closer I get to God the more I love my wife. If both of us grow closer to God we can’t help but get closer to each other.

Unity Table (39)

In the shop, next to the license plate collection and my large picture of John Wayne, hangs this simple triangle I used as an object lesson in a class once. I placed the prop in a prominent location to remind me that my wife and I are not alone in our marriage. Marriage takes three—John, Shawn, and most importantly, God.

 I can think of no better reminder to share with my daughter and soon to be son-in-law.