I think I would have titled this book "13 Women You Should Drop Everything and Marry." That way, we could have focused in directly on the positive qualities, and looked at their opposite negative traits in passing. This book, 13 Women You Should Never Marry, does get around to the good traits, but it works its way there from the negatives.
What good qualities do we want to manifest, and find in others? We want to be content in Christ, able to choose joy for ourselves. We want to keep problems in perspective. We want to love others based on our status as Beloved of God, not based on those people's performance. We want to speak words of life and affirmation. We want to see the best in others and point it out to the world. We want to be safe people, who can be trusted with broken hearts and painful secrets.
Mary Colbert makes me want to be that kind of woman. Despite the focus on a negative trait in each chapter, she shows how desirable the good qualities are. So I think, overall, this could be a helpful book. The author does try to see most of the negative traits in context, with a sympathetic eye, even as she calls them out as red flags.
For example, she reminds us that a critical person may have grown up heavily criticized, a negative person may have had a lot of bad experiences, an angry person may really fear rejection, etc. For every one of these mindsets, there is help to be found in Christ. But it isn't the role of this book to guide women to help, so much as to warn men away from the women. I understand both sides of this.
Any woman, with the right guidance and care, can overcome any of these attitudes and grow into a wonderful, healthy soul. And yet, I wouldn't want my hypothetical brother to marry an unhealthy woman with the goal of "fixing" her. We'll all be marrying a sinner. The only question is, are they moving toward wholeness, holiness, and happiness, or will we have to drag them? I think this question will require a lot of soul searching. Where does 'bear one another's burdens' come in? Is it right to look for a spouse who appears to be carrying light burdens to begin with?
There are some valuable things to be learned here. All of the negative traits are ugly, and they drain away life. And we all manifest them, over and over in various degrees, throughout life. Are we willing to own them, to look them in the eye, to choose goodness and wisdom instead?
I thank Worthy Publishing for my review copy.