Martin and Katie’s Wedding: The “Protestant Family” Prototype
If you had told Father Martin Luther and Sister Katharina von Bora that they would be married in a few years’ time and would eventually become the parents of six children, they would have likely condemned you for witchery . . . or at least have laughed in your face. Neither of these key players in the Protestant Reformation could have ever foreseen such a future. Katharina, placed in a nunnery at just five years of age, likely gave up on any dreams she might have had of becoming a mother. And then fate --- God’s hand --- reached out and plucked up these two faithful servants, melding them together in a relationship that would become legendary.
Martin Luther actually had some fairly colorful things to say about the possibility of marriage. Yet he saw the hand of God behind the sudden addition of Katharina von Bora in his life: “Suddenly, and while I was occupied with far different thoughts, the Lord has plunged me into marriage.” This tongue-in-cheek admittance of a higher power was so Luther . . . he may not have been prepared for it, but he would go with it, because he was powerless to second guess the God he so vehemently followed.
The wedding date was June 13, 1525. Neither was sure of their feelings for the other, but in the following months and years it would become very clear that a deep and abiding love was in the making. They took their vows before Johannes Bugenhagen, and though they were not the first reformers to marry, their marriage set the standard for the model Protestant family and for the pastor’s family as well. I read recently that Katie’s wedding ring was found on the grounds of the “Black Cloister” where the Luther family lived, and also that you can buy replicas of this ring (for a hefty price!) I wondered how she might have lost it and what story was behind that tragedy . . .
I sat silently while typing this post and wondered about the details that will never be known. Was there music? Dancing? Singing? What did “My Lord Katie,” as Luther would later call his indomitable bride, wear? What did Luther himself wear? Sadly, such details have been lost, or at least I have not yet discovered them. One thing was clear: neither Martin nor Katharina ever believed they would marry. Yet theirs was a loving marriage which was only enhanced by an occasional battle of wills . . . each respected the strength of character in the other. Even when it hurt!
(c) 2012 Joyously Saved