What prepared you for a lifetime commitment to your husband or wife? Were you home-schooled and your parents were your professors? Did you learn through on-the-job training? Did you have a Masters Degree in Marriage? Wherever you received your training, was it the best place for you to learn the principles of developing an exciting and successful marriage? In far too many cases the answer is a resounding “No!”
Let’s look at it from another perspective: Imagine that your marriage is a university and you are going for your Master’s Degree. Your spouse is your major. Some of the courses required include communication, romance, sex, finances, in-laws, spiritual maturity, and a foreign language (the unique language spoken by your mate).
If you received grades in those subjects today would they be A’s, F’s, or something in between? The Lord would be giving the grades with a recommendation from your spouse. With that in mind, what do you think your grade-point average would be?
Masters Degree Challenge
[We] challenge you to go for your M.S.M. —Master’s Degree in Successful Marriage. Obtaining an academic master’s degree usually takes up to six years of dedicated effort. During that time most men and women face victories and hardships. There are many hours of study and preparation, midterms, and finals. Often there are financial struggles. And, at some point, almost every graduate student asks, “Why am I doing this?”
But the rewards of graduating are many and they last a lifetime.
When students have completed their studies, they look forward to graduation day when the mortarboard tassel will be moved from one side to the other, when their friends and family will be hugging and shaking hands with pride, and when they will hear their name called to receive that long-awaited diploma. The gratification may have been delayed, but it was well worth the wait.
Likewise, obtaining the Master’s degree in marriage requires that kind of commitment —and more. This honor is earned when you are willing to go to the degree of the Master —Jesus —in your marriage.
We encourage that both marriage partners work through this process together. However, you can work through this [process] even if your spouse has no interest in participating, because God is working on you alone. Practice being obedient to God’s Word, His will and His way apart from the actions of your spouse.
As with any other school in which you enroll, there are guidelines that will guarantee your success. A well-planned course of study will make your learning process easier and more efficient.
Focus Only on Your Efforts.
At the judgment seat of Christ, when you answer for the works you did on earth, you will stand alone (see Romans 14:10-12). Your husband or wife will not be there. Even if you try to use him or her as an excuse for any ill-behavior, you will more than likely hear from the Father, “Yes, I know what he or she did wrong but what did I ask you to do?”
Become Professors of the Heart.
Allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in your spouse. Often we want to play the role of the Holy Spirit in convicting and teaching our spouses. That is not our job. The only thing we are capable of doing is trying to change our spouse’s minds. In that regard, a wise person once said,
A man [or woman] convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
In areas of growth, your spouse might need a change of heart. This can only be accomplished by Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
It Takes Time
Obtaining a master’s degree can take up to six years. We suggest that you commit a similar amount of time to this Master’s degree effort. At first, that may sound like quite a time investment, but results take time. Besides, shouldn’t we at least give as much concentration to our marriage (in which we promised God and each other “until death do us part”) as we do to an earthly education? The truth is there is no way to judge the condition of our marriages until we do it God’s way —and His way takes time.
During those years, you will be planting precious sees of hope, faith, and love into your marriage. Remember, a tiny acorn develops into a giant oak tree. Your friends and family members will one day be able to sit in the shade of your marriage and realize what happens when people are genuinely committed to each other and to God.
This process, although tremendously rewarding, is not easy. Many of our old negative and destructive patterns have to be destroyed —and those things don’t die easily. An accumulation of wrong information may have contributed to your marriage’s lack of growth or even its deterioration. That wrong information needs to be replaced with God’s wisdom and direction.
Only the strong will survive, but whenever you are feeling weak, remember:
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.“ (Philippians 4:13)
This article comes from the book, The Master’s Degree … Majoring in Your Marriage, written by Frank and P. Bunny Wilson, and published by Harvest House Publishers. In this book marriage counselors, Frank and Bunny Wilson, share “their early years in the school of marriage and wisdom gained along the way.” They provide insightful practical mini-courses on increasing and renewing marriage relationships. They help you to “imagine your marriage is a school and your spouse is your most important subject!”
SO WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?
I wish you could read the rest of Frank and Bunny’s book, but unfortunately, it is no longer being published. However, you could possibly find it used. The idea they present is one that we hope you will take seriously. Become a student of your spouse and a student of the covenant of marriage.
This web site (and many we link to, as well as resources we recommend) can help you in this journey. PLEASE take advantage of all we make available as you through the leading of the Holy Spirit —our Wonderful Counselor. He can teach you all you need to make your marriage healthy, strong, and good, in every sense of the word as you pray, seek, learn and apply what you have learned.
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