Only in the last semester of university that just passed did I learn what an ‘Mrs. Degree’ is: the situation where a female attends university with meeting a spouse as a major intention. [Pun intended]
When I discovered this concept while chatting with some classmates, my immediate reaction was repulsion. How dishonourable, to go to university for something other than intellectual or professional development! lame shame.
Having grown up a little more since then and thought more about it from different angles, I realise that I am at fault for my immediate reaction. While it sounds like someone pursuing an MRS Degree is idolising romance/marriage/men, being repulsed to the degree I was at the time shows evidence of being steeped too far in the opposite direction: idolising intellectual pursuit and independent thinking.
It’s bizarre, because I feel so sad when I see that bent in my professors’ world views, or when class discussions revolve endlessly around how wrong it was that women did not used to be able to pursue independent lives. Many professors’ academic research matters little in light of eternity. I know this and believe it strongly, yet the attitude has permeated. While looking for fun images for this post, I read something on another blog by a Christian high school teacher which I won’t link to, but will quote: “My biggest fear is that many of the young ladies I teach will go off to college in hopes of getting an MRS. degree. Ladies, keep fighting.” Keep fighting what? The godly desire for marriage? I know that Christians complain about how society does not respect ‘family’ anymore, but perhaps Christian society (especially young people like myself) can disrespect it just as much in our attitudes.
Say MRS Degree to a bunch of female honours students who take school seriously and you’ll probably get frowns and rolled eyes. (This hasty generalization is based mostly on an assessment of my reaction in the situation cited above.) It just sounds ridiculous and somehow ‘cheap’. But the truth is, marriage is honourable and worth pursuing. (Unless you are called to be celibate – and not many are.) I don’t feel like researching a bunch of Bible verses for this post because the ones I would quote are well known and easily googleable anyhow. Adam and Eve – not good for man to be alone, Proverbs – he who finds a wife finds a good thing, 1 Corinthians – it is better to marry than to burn with lust… etc.
Thinking about university peers who have married or are getting married after meeting during university, it’s a little ridiculous that a short while ago I would think lowly of MRS Degrees theoretically, because I have always had huge amounts of respect and admiration for the young couples I know, and never thought about the contradiction in my attitude. Now I have gone and given those classmates in the discussion the wrong impression of marriage.
It is one thing to see the wrong in idolizing romance, but depriving the pursuit of marriage of its honour is wrong too.