I’m not sure if it is my age (which I admit is not old by any means), being a wife/running a household, or just having a child that has made me curious. Curious about how women functioned prior to the modernization of everything. Don’t get me wrong, I am busy most days with cleaning, cooking (trying to limit the processed food), and caring for a 15 month old child. But seriously, they didn’t have appliances much less running water and a grocery store. So I was pretty excited when a friend lent me a book by John Piper and Justin Taylor, called “Sex and the Supremacy of Christ.”
Now I’ll admit that does NOT seem to jive with my introduction to this post, so hang with me a minute. When looking at the table of contents the end of the book has two chapters dealing with the “history of sex.” One of the chapters deals with Martin Luther, his beliefs regarding marriage, and his eventual marriage to Kate von Bora and having six kids. The real focus of the chapter is on Martin Luther’s support of marriage and how that has contributed to today’s view of (Christian) marriage.
There is plenty of mention of who Kate von Bora was and how God allowed her to personally shape Martin Luther’s positive view of marriage. She was a former nun who married Martin Luther (he was 40, she was 26) and entered into a pretty hard life. From what I can tell they were poor or in debt and Martin Luther was busy with his job of preaching, writing, etc. She would get up sometimes at 4am (alarm clock?) to take care of their family and numerous borders. According to Piper and Taylor these jobs included basic farming, cooking (as well as making beer), hospitality to the always numerous guests, and taking care of her children and Luther of course.
May I admit that sometimes 8am is a little too early for me? Or that sometimes I don’t really want to empty the dishwasher or carry the clothes down to the laundry room. What motivated this woman to diligently care for her family and get up so early to perform at times difficult tasks? I know that necessity was part of it, as well as her view of God and the responsibility she felt to her family. Despite the financial difficulty and hard work it appears that both Kate and Martin Luther really valued each other and enjoyed their lives.
In this “post-modern” time when the value of marriage is underrated or just plain mysterious to a lot of people it is difficult to understand why someone would want to live their life that way. The added responsibility of having a family and child can seem ridiculous from a non-Christian point of view. Personally, I am realizing almost daily that my marriage and child add so much value to my existence, and I am thankful that God steered my path toward family. As for hard work, I am thankful that all these modern appliances make my life easier, but I am aware that doesn’t mean I get to be lazy. Hopefully the example of Kate von Bora can encourage me to get a little more done and be thankful in the process. Thankful that I don’t have to get up at 4am…although sometimes 6am wouldn’t be a bad idea.