Married to the lady of the new pig market

What you need to know:

  • No one thought Martin and Katie could make a good marriage; if you'd done a compatibility test, they were not a match.

You know about Martin Luther, who sparked the Protestant Reformation by nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany.

But do you know about his wife, Katie, the runaway nun? He later called her Lady of the New Pig Market because of her efforts to feed the family by raising pigs.

No one thought Martin and Katie could make a good marriage; if you'd done a compatibility test, they're not a match. But why did their marriage work?

Love is a choice:  Katie had a quick tongue and Martin had a quick temper, a combination that does not usually make for a good marriage. So what kind of marriage did Martin and Katie have? A very unusual one.

Yes, Katie was outspoken, and Martin had outbursts. But Martin and Katie were so human. At first, you might wonder how their marriage survived.

But the better you get to know them, you'll understand their secret: they loved each other and focused on their love and strengths, not weaknesses. Secondly:

Each did what he or she was good at: This is what Martin Luther said: "In domestic affairs, I defer to Katie. Otherwise, I am led by the Holy Spirit." He said it, a bit facetiously, about his wife. "There's a lot to get used to in the first year of marriage."

Katie was many things for Martin: a gardener, a cook, a nurse, a cattle raiser, a bookkeeper, and a brewer. But you could never accuse Katie of being a stone.

One biographer calls Katie a "quick-witted Saxon with a ready tongue," which made an interesting match for Luther, an intense debater with a short fuse.

She could not be described as beautiful with "her longish head, high forehead, long nose, and powerful chin." It was her intelligence and personality that made her attractive to Luther. Thirdly:

Moments of frustration pass away if you let them: Luther once admitted. "One wakes up in the morning and finds a pair of pigtails on the pillow that were not there before."

For the 41-year-old former monk and the 26-year-old former nun, there was a lot more than that to get used to.

Luther, after Katie had contradicted him in front of dinner guests, sighed and remarked, "If I should ever marry again, I should hew myself an obedient wife out of stone."

However, after a while, Martin recalled, "Before I was married, the bed was not made for a whole year and became foul with sweat. But I worked so hard and was so weary that I tumbled in without noticing it.”

However, when Martin married Katie, the bed was made, the sheets were changed, and the house was kept clean!

Finally, Martin Luther said, "There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage." They had a good marriage.

Amani Kyala is a counsellor, writer and teacher, 0626 512 144.