13 Women You Should Never Marry: and How Every Man Can Recognize Them, by Mary Colbert. Published in March, 2015.
I have read a lot of books written by Christians to Christians about marriage. It’s a curiosity of mine so when I saw this one, written from a proactive rather than reactive perspective (not to mention super cheap), I snapped it up.
Mary Colbert is a mother of two sons and six grandsons, which was the driver behind her desire to write 13 Women You Should Never Marry.
The book is short, concise and direct. She outlines 13 types of women men should watch out for. I recognized myself in most of them during different periods of my life- even as a wife, although not always in as extreme a measure as outlined in this book. The author acknowledged the same of herself as well. I was left wondering to myself as the disciples did after hearing what Christ had to say on the subject: “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!”
At this point I am sorely tempted to offer a marital philosophy but I won’t, and stick to giving you an idea what you’ll find in the book and my thoughts about it. First, a few examples of the women you will meet in 13 Women before I grade the book. This book, I believe, is an expansion of a column Mrs. Colbert wrote for Charisma magazine back in 2014, so a couple of the descriptions I’ll lift from there.
Blinded Brenda is chronically unable to view life through the lens of anyone’s view but her own. Every situation is judged by how it will affect her personally, whether for good or ill. Even when she has a husband and children, their needs and feelings take a back seat to her own.
Holy Holly was of particular interest to me as I know her intimately. More concerned with the appearance of righteousness than living a life of love and grace, she quotes Scripture constantly, hears God tell her what to do in every area of her life (right down to what color shoes to wear!). Sounds like a fun sister to be married to, no? You can just hear her saying, “God told me not tonight, honey. Gotta fast and pray.”
Addicted Debbie is usually looking in the rear view mirror of life. She sings the “somebody done me something wrong” song to everybody and anybody who will listen. She constantly hashes and rehashes the failures or losses of life. Many times this woman will battle addictions to numb her pain, whether it’s drugs, alcohol or food. Her pains will become your worst nightmare. Remember you are looking for a helpmate, not a mate to help.
Lazy Lucille. The only place the Lord talks about laziness is in conjunction with wickedness—“You wicked, lazy servant.” God sees laziness as wicked. You will know this woman. Her house is a filthy mess, and her car looks like a trash dump. She doesn’t take care of herself in any way. She doesn’t have a healthy love for herself and won’t be able to love you correctly until she does.
Broke-as-a-Joke Julie. This is a woman who has credit issues. She owes money to everybody, and she will have no sense of restraint when it comes to spending money. Just as it is important for a woman to know a man’s financial status, a man should know a woman’s. If she can’t budget her own money, she won’t have any trouble spending yours.
In an attempt to offer some balance the author follows up every exposition of a negative wife trait with examples of women (both in Scripture and in her real life encounters) who exhibit the opposite, more excellent character traits.
Edited to add: I forgot to mention that at the end of exploring each woman, Mrs. Colbert then offers a quick little “red flag”, “yellow flag”, “green flag” checklist to help men quickly identify if the woman they are considering is in fact the woman described in the chapter. It lacked the depth she intended for it to convey in my opinion, but it might be useful to some.
This book was a quick read, and given the time most of us give to reading books these days, that’s a good thing. She makes good points and she expresses them well enough. There were certainly a few things that I felt were worth addressing with my own young adult daughters and even though it was written with men in mind, I plan to have them read it. I’m not enamored with it, but it has value.