Every area of study has it’s own stereotypes. I have noticed that this is especially true for one very special Bachelor of Science degree: Marriage and Family Studies. It is difficult to know the truth behind any area of study if you are not directly affiliated with it, so I am here to give you a glimpse into the reality of a Marriage and Family student.
During my first year at Brigham Young University Idaho, my declared major was Psychology. I wanted to pursue a career in marriage counseling, and while Psychology could certainly get me there, I knew I would get a more precise education if I changed my major to Marriage and Family Studies. But I did not want to change my major.
Why? You may ask?
Well, I was embarrassed. Almost everything I had heard about Marriage and Family majors was negative. Nicknamed the “MRS. degree”, this major was often ridiculed for being the major girls chose to stay in school long enough to find a husband, then drop out. It was mocked for being easy, not a real major, and not leading to any job opportunities. And the worst part is I believed all the stereotypes! I worried people wouldn’t take me seriously if I switched.
My fears kept me in Psychology for another year, despite the constant nagging from God that I needed to make the change. In my final semesters, I finally caved. I just couldn’t see how conditioning rats could possibly be helpful for my future marriage and family career, and I decided I couldn’t put it off any longer.
To my pleasant surprise, I learned that most of the stereotypes about Marriage and Family majors weren’t true! I realized many of my own preconceive notions were down right wrong. And I learned to proudly say that I got my degree in Marriage and Family Studies!
So today, I’m here to share what I’ve learned! I’m here to crush the myths and tell you the truth about Marriage and Family Studies (MFS)!
Myth #1: “The MRS. Degree”
First of all, I would like to challenge the idea that there is something wrong or of lesser value with a college education to use for your own family. Getting an education to be an effective wife and mother (or husband and father) should never be looked down on. Harold B. Lee emphasized “the most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.” (p. 134). I personally don’t see anything wrong with getting a degree in the most important work you will ever do! Even if it never makes you a dime, the value of an educated parent who is a professional in family life is immeasurable!
Second, it may surprise you how motivated and determined the women in this major are. They aren’t simply wandering through college to kill time, go on dates, find a husband, and get a degree just because! They have plans!
Which brings me to my next point…
Myth #2: MFS Majors Lack Direction and Ambition
People within this major have selected it to achieve a very specific purpose. And it definitely ain’t money! They choose it because they care about people. Some of the most selfless, kind, and incredible people are in this major.
Many of them came from challenging homes, many have seen the devastating effects of divorce, many are deeply compassionate towards children, and many are extremely talented in other areas and could literally do anything else! But they chose MFS because they believe it will be the most effective way to help the world. They are driven and determined to help heal, console, and nurture.
Yeah, some of them don’t know exactly what they are going to do after graduation (haha, me.) But at the very least, they know they want to make a difference, even if they haven’t figured out all the details yet.
Myth #3: There Are No Jobs
Marriage and Family is a relatively new study and so the jobs are relatively new as well. Because of this, there tends to be some ambiguity. But demand for more experts in Marriage and Family is increasing! Jobs for Marriage and Family Therapists for instance are growing at a much faster rate than other occupations (23% in 2016!).
But family therapy isn’t the only career path available to those with a MFS degree! Allow me to list a few:
- Family life educator
- Social worker
- Family life coach
- Non-profits like this one, or this one, or this one, or even this one!
- Early childhood educator
- Advocate for families as a policy maker
- Work with parents of children with special needs
- Dating coach
- Blogger ; )
It’s actually a quite versatile area of study and can open many doors for you!
Myth #4: It’s Easy
Marriage and Family Studies is easy? Say that to my 33 page family education workshop portfolio!
Okay, it’s true we take less multiple choice tests. But there are still the essays, the literature reviews, the semester projects, the speeches, the discussion boards, the zoom meetings, the workshops, the research, the statistics, the presentations, the hundreds and hundreds of pages of reading everyday, I mean guys it’s still a college degree!
It’s not rocket science, but it is a science.
Myth #5: It’s Not Important
I’d like to quote some people who can say this better than me:
“Making our homes sanctuaries wherein we can stand in holy places is essential in these latter days” – David A Bednar
“No other success can compensate for failure in the home” – David O Mckay
“There is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage. There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family” – D Todd Christofferson
“It is no wonder that satan has declared war on motherhood. He understands full well that those who rock the cradle can rock his earthly empire” – Sherri Dew
Marriage and Family majors are not only prepared to accomplish this tremendously important mission in their own homes, but they are prepared to help others accomplish it as well. I think instead of asking “is it important?” a more appropriate question would be “could there be anything more important?“
Hug A MFS Student/Graduate
So the next time you talk to a MFS major, give them a hug, ask them why they decided to go into Family Studies, ask them what they plan to do with their education, then stand back – listen – and be amazed. Whether they plan to use their degrees to help families through a career or build up their own homes, you can be sure that they are going to help the world be a better place.