The Luther Family and the Reformation of Marriage

Jeff Robinson | October 25, 2017

The five guests who attended the wedding in a small house didn’t know it would shake the world.

On the evening of June 13, 1525, in Wittenburg, Katharina von Bora became Katharina Luther, wife of Martin Luther. That evening, the Protestant Reformation bore one of its sweetest—and most underappreciated—fruits: the transformation of marriage and family.

It was a seismic event precisely because it rescued marriage.

Marriage had fallen on hard times during the medieval age, particularly within Christendom. Advice given to Christian men ran along the lines of “Don’t marry; serve God.” The church had dug a profound fault line between the sacred and the secular.

But the union of Martin and Katie Luther declared that Scripture knows no such dichotomy. Just as the Reformation didn’t create the gospel (it simply brought it out of eclipse), the Reformation didn’t alter marriage; it merely went back to the Bible.

It Happened—Barely

As Michelle DeRusha shows in Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk, it nearly didn’t happen. Luther wasn’t particularly drawn to Katie, and feared he’d soon be a martyr for the Reformation cause, thereby leaving behind a new wife. But “to spite the Pope and the Devil,” Luther wed Katie…

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