It was on this day in 1525 that former monk Martin Luther married former nun Katharina von Bora. Luther was 41 and Katharina 26. Their marriage was very significant and made a statement nearly as important as Luther’s famous “Here I stand” at the Diet of Worms. It stood as a bold display of a biblical understanding of marriage that directly opposed the teaching of the Catholic church.
The Catholic church held (and still holds) that monks, priests, and nuns may not marry so that they can give themselves entirely to the Church. By marrying, Luther demonstrated his rejection of this view and modeled what the New Testament assumes—that church leaders could, and for the most part should be married (1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6). The Luther’s union was a declaration of the sacredness and inherent goodness of marriage and sex.
There are a lot of good sources for reading more about the development of Martin and Katharina’s love and the success and influence of their marriage. One of the more recent and accessible accounts is Justin Taylor’s chapter in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ titled “Martin Luther’s Reform of Marriage.” (You can download the book via the Desiring God website, or purchase it from Amazon or Westminster Books). Justin also wrote a five-part blog series for the Resurgence based largely on the content of the chapter.
For a general biography of Luther that includes information about his family life, I recommend Roland Bainton’s Here I Stand, still the go-to volume on Luther.