“He who finds a wife finds a good thing” does not mean every woman qualifies as a good wife.
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About the Author
Mary Colbert is the wife of Dr. Don Colbert. They have two sons, six grandsons, and one granddaughter. One of eight children raised in a military home, she attended Oral Roberts University where she met her husband. Mary is a graduate of Rhema Bible School and is an ordained minister. Along with her husband of 35 years, she co-authored the New York Times bestseller Seven Pillars of Health. The Colberts live in Orlando, Florida.
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13 Women You Should Never Marry
And How Every Man Can Recognize Them
By Mary Colbert
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2015 Mary Colbert
All rights reserved.
BEWARE OF BLINDED BRENDA
When I arrived at the gym on Saturday morning, Brenda was climbing the StairMaster with fierce determination.
I won't lie: she looked fantastic.
Her light hair was pulled back in a lime scrunchie that coordinated with her halter top and workout pants. While sweat poured off nearby women and men, on Brenda it just sort of ... glistened. Without a hint of makeup, she still looked like she'd stepped out of the pages of a women's fitness magazine. Seriously, her nails and the swoosh on her brand-new cross-trainers were lime green.
We'd taken some classes together over the years, so I paused to say hello.
"Hi, Brenda. How are you?"
"Well," she launched off, "the renovation on our lake house is delayed. Again!"
I tried to look like I cared.
She barreled on. "I told Bob he needs to drive up to the lake this week and light a fire under that crew."
"And he can take the time off work?" I queried.
"He says he can't, but I've already got a hair appointment on Monday, lunch with girlfriends on Tuesday, and a massage on Wednesday that I really need. I've got an appointment with this fabulous new masseur over on Main Street. I've heard he'll make me feel great. Then, unfortunately, my in-laws are coming for little Bobby's soccer tournament at the end of the week."
"Oh," I remarked, "is he enjoying soccer this year?"
"A better question would be, 'Am I enjoying it?' And the answer is no. He had a game this morning, but I skipped it because I just had to get this workout in. If I don't get in twelve hours of cardio each week, I am wrecked."
If I got in twelve hours of cardio, I'd be wrecked.
"That's where I'm headed," I offered, pointing across the room to the treadmills. "Have a good day."
I wanted some space from Brenda's pulsing diva energy. Somehow, no matter what we discussed, it was always all about Brenda.
Blinded Brenda is oblivious to the needs of others. Her world—although it technically involves a husband, children, friends, and others—centers on what she needs and wants.
You may have seen Brenda at a social function. She and her family usually arrive late. Her husband, who has patiently waited on her for forty-five minutes, looks harried. Her children, too, have been dragged along on the delayed train that always seems to run at Brenda's pace. But as she breezes into the room, every hair in place, Brenda seems unconcerned about either her family or her tardiness. Because, of course, while no one else's needs have been considered, Brenda's gotten everything she wanted.
In most areas of her life, Brenda expects instant gratification. If she sees a new designer dress in a catalog, she orders it within minutes. If she decides she wants a degree in celebrity photography or discovers a two-week Caribbean yoga cruise, she registers immediately, seemingly unaware of the impact her actions might have on anyone else. Even at church she feels entitled to step to the front of the line for a cup of coffee.
In some cases, Blinded Brenda was that young girl who was always treated as Daddy's little princess. She got whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted it.
Now, I have nothing against a girl who is Daddy's little girl, but when she's in her twenties and still talking about being Daddy's little girl, something may be off. If this sounds like a woman you're close to, you might consider letting her know, in the most polite way, "Honey, I'm glad you're your daddy's little girl, but I'm looking for a woman. I'm looking for a woman who wants to be a wife, not a woman who wants to stay Daddy's little girl." Unfortunately, women who see themselves as Daddy's little girl often make very poor wives.
Brenda is chronically unable to see things from someone else's point of view. She can only see things from her viewpoint. For example, she is so absorbed in her enjoyment of a new lake home that she seems oblivious to the cost to her husband if he's absent from work. (I'd love to see this guy suggest that Brenda take care of cleaning the lake house!) Rather than recognizing the importance of being present with her children and the things that are meaningful to them, she sees only her own desire to hit the gym. Though Brenda's keenly aware of the ways she is affected by the world around her, she's less cognizant of how her actions impact others.
NOTE TO SINGLE MEN
Gentlemen, squint your eyes and peer into the future. Can you see the life you will share with the woman you're considering marrying? Can she? Neglecting to notice the trajectory of a woman's vision for the future—both hers and yours—is a mistake a lot of young men make. When the two of you gaze into the future together, do you both see the same thing? Do you see the woman God created her to be, and does she see the man God made you to be?
In the absence of your own personal magical crystal ball, one of the best ways to see into the future is to take your cues from the present. Right now, does the woman you're considering marrying notice the needs of others? Does she have to be the center of attention? Is she able to see what you might need or want? Right now you might be full of grace and patience for a girlfriend who seems to put herself first, but if this is a woman who will spend the next five or six decades testing that patience, you might want to slow down your relationship.
In Ephesians 5, Paul described a marriage in which a man and woman love one another the way Christ loved the church. Don't miss that! That's a radical love that sacrifices its own life for the other. Brenda, though, behaves as if her husband is her errand boy. Not only does she not bend her will to serve him, but she also behaves as if he exists only to serve her.
MEET THE ANTI-BRENDA
Are you familiar with the iconic "Proverbs 31 Woman"? She is nothing if not a powerhouse. I know a lot of women look to the qualities Solomon described in Proverbs 31 and feel dwarfed by this superhero of a woman. I've got good news for them, and I hope for men as well.
Solomon was not married monogamously as men are today. Because he had a host of concubines, the descriptors in this illustrious passage are therefore actually describing a combination of women. So if any women are sneak-reading this book, the pressure is off! (Whew!) And I hope the pressure will be off you guys as well, because trying to find this exact woman would be a lifelong search. She doesn't exist. You won't find her, because she is a fantasy.
Rather, Solomon gathered qualities from his different experiences of women to craft what is essentially a wish list. It gives a picture of the type of woman who makes a good wife. (If women made a similar wish list for the ideal husband, the superhero who would take shape would look a great deal like Jesus.) No woman will have all of the Proverbs 31 qualities in spades, but they're great markers to help you recognize the woman who's prepared and well equipped to be your wife. So we'll be taking a look at them as we work our way through this book.
The woman Solomon described is the kind of Good Wife who's very different from Brenda. To say that this Good Wife isn't all about herself doesn't necessarily make her a slave to others. Rather, this woman is savvy. She knows how to handle money. She knows how to supervise workers. She manages her home and—whether she pulls out her own feather duster or hires someone who has their own feather duster—she makes sure everything runs smoothly. She doesn't need to be up at 5 a.m. vacuuming, but she's not sleeping until noon either. She doesn't spend all her days at the mall or the spa. She's responsible and runs her home the way she'd run an efficient business.
Specifically, the woman Solomon describes is nothing like Brenda. While Brenda expects the world to revolve around her, the Good Wife is keenly attentive to the needs of others. That doesn't mean she's weak or subservient. Solomon painted her as a very capable, gifted woman who—like Christ—chooses to be for others.
ANOTHER TYPE OF WOMAN
In stark relief to Blinded Brenda and the other women detailed throughout this book, I'd like for you to catch a glimpse of the kind of woman you do want to marry. All of us—because we're human and sinful—have some of Blinded Brenda (and the rest) in us. I know there have been times when the Spirit has had to open my eyes for me to be aware of the needs of those around me. But while no woman is perfect, you can certainly set your sights on the type of wife God intended when He created the first woman from Adam's rib. God's intention for marriage was a good one, and as much as I want to warn you about some women to avoid, I also want you to begin to notice the kind of woman God has designed for you.
One godly woman, who is a healthy countertype to Blinded Brenda, is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary's attitude, even as a young teenage girl, was quite remarkable. Rather than clinging to her own desires—because no girl in the ancient Near East would have chosen to be an unwed mother—she was able to release them in submission to the will of God with the confident affirmation, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). Mary was willing to submit to God, in the most absurd and difficult circumstances, for a corporate good greater than her own. She was willing to endure humiliation and gossip, and she was prepared to release the hopes and dreams she'd had for a future that did not include the world's most outrageous surprise.
Mary sounds radically different from Brenda, doesn't she? Blinded Brenda doesn't have the ability to see beyond her own needs and wants. While on one hand she's made herself very large in relation to others, the vision she has for her life is actually very small. She can't see herself being used, in any way, for the greater good. It is, and always will be, all about Brenda. Sadly, she lives with the Me-My-I Syndrome. You'll hear hints of it in conversation with her as she wails, "Well, that doesn't work for me. That really wouldn't be my choice. I want to do this, see that, and have the other."
Be careful of someone who can't see beyond her own wants and needs. This approach to living is like a deep hole that never gets filled.
Unlike Brenda, Mary was willing to submit to the Holy Spirit, trusting that her life's outcome would be exactly what God intended for it to be. Some today are quick to call any sort of submission "weakness," but Mary's submission was actually a demonstration of a remarkable strength. Mary knew that her life mattered and that it was important, but what was more important was how her life could be used for something greater than herself.
Does the woman you are considering marrying recognize something greater than herself, which is the work of Someone greater than herself?
A woman who is not "all about herself" does not mean she has no life at all. Or even that her life has been absorbed into her husband's life. Rather, it means that the Source of her life is actually found neither in herself nor in her husband but is rooted in her relationship with the Lord. I strive to make that true of myself as a wife to Don. Being led by God means that I've been set free from being all about me to become the wife I was created to be.
GLIMPSE THE ANTI-BRENDA
My daughter-in-law Becky is a great example of the anti-Brenda. Becky is a hairdresser and runs her own business. She keeps track of the household finances and is careful not to overspend. She takes notice of whether the house and clothes are clean. She keeps track of birthdays and anniversaries and reminds my son (even if it's her own birthday or their own anniversary!). She really is amazing.
If Becky were all about Becky, she'd insist on designer clothing. She'd demand flashy new jewelry. Her home would be custom decorated with the best of everything. She'd need a brand-new car each year. She might even insist on designer clothes for the kids so that they would reflect well on her. But Becky's priorities instead are to make sure that everyone in the household is cared for.
Here's an example: Becky recently planned a weekend getaway for her and my son, DJ. She arranged child care for the kids, and she made reservations and plans to do fun things together. In her thoughtful way, Becky was able to show DJ that he's important to her. She does it every day, in a million different ways.
Becky is the mother of three children: two boys and a little girl we call our "up" baby. Kate was born with Trisomy 21, known as Down syndrome. Her heart had only two chambers and one valve. Long story short, with prayer and nothing short of a miracle, today Kate is in first grade. She loves dance, and unless you know, looking at Kate you can hardly tell she has come through such an incredible miracle. That's why we call her our "up" baby. We refuse to call her "Down," because she is anything but down. Although Becky and DJ have been through some very hard times, she has managed to keep it all together and is still going strong.
Becky lives a life of service to others, yet she has a healthy confidence in herself. I hope you can see that the woman whose life is not centered on herself isn't a weakling or a pushover. She's a strong woman who's able to live for others, especially her husband.
A WOMAN NOT BLINDED TO THE NEEDS OF THOSE AROUND HER
When Cheryl Salem was eleven years old, she was in a terrible car accident that left her physically broken and scarred. While the challenges Cheryl faced might have driven another woman into the shadows, Cheryl went on to compete in pageants, winning the titles (among others) of Miss Mississippi in 1979 and Miss America in 1980. Cheryl really is a remarkable woman.
Cheryl and her husband, Harry Salem, had a precious daughter, Gabrielle, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Three days before their sweet Gabrielle died, Don and I visited the Salems' home. I was so struck during that visit by the way Cheryl never succumbed to self-pity. Rather, in the most difficult circumstances, her eyes were open to the needs of others.
Not only was my friend Cheryl attentive to her husband and her sons, but she was even buzzing about their home caring for her guests. I can still hear her asking, "Is there something you need?" The striking contrast between Cheryl's beauty—that never seemed to consume her—and the way she set her eyes on the needs of others made a lasting impression on me.
The woman to marry is the one, like Cheryl, like Becky, whose eyes are open to the needs of those around her.
STOP, PAUSE, OR GO?
Whether you're just beginning to imagine the kind of woman you'd like to marry, dating casually, or have an engagement ring burning a hole in your pocket, pay attention to the following signals.
Her conversation is sprinkled with lots of "I," "me," and "my."
She is only able to see things from her own point of view.
Her needs take priority over the needs of others.
She identifies herself as "Daddy's little princess."
She doesn't see the same future you envision.
She doesn't mind inconveniencing others.
She has a clear vision of the man you were created to be.
She longs to partner with you as a helpmate.
She considers the needs of others.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her.
Proverbs 31:28CHAPTER 2
DITCH DOMINATING DONNA
Donna, a few other women, and I were meeting in Donna's living room to plan a community event. After we'd wrapped up our business and were chatting, Donna's husband, Dave, walked through the front door. On the way home from work he'd picked up their twins from soccer. The boys tromped up the stairs arguing with one another while he juggled his briefcase, cell phone, and a stack of files from the office. One glance at Dave's haggard face told me that he had had a rough day.
Before she greeted Dave or gave us a chance to, Donna sized him up and demanded, "Where's the milk?!"
The awkward glances on the couch where I sat let me know I wasn't the only one feeling uncomfortable at witnessing the strained marital moment.
I'm pretty sure I saw a little cartoon lightbulb turn on over Dave's head as he remembered that he'd forgotten to pick up milk on the way home. "Oh no!" he gasped. Fear flashed across his face before he dropped his work on the coffee table, turned on his heel, and left to get milk.
"That man!" Donna bellowed in our direction. "He would lose his head if it wasn't tied on!"
I was hoping her rant would end there, but it didn't.
"One thing. I ask him to do one thing. How hard is it to pick up a gallon of milk?"
None of us dared to answer. I knew I'd forgotten milk a few days earlier, and I suspected the same common faux pas might have silenced others as well.
Donna continued, "I cook a nice meal, and he's late for dinner. I make reservations at a restaurant, and he forgets. It's almost like he doesn't even want to be here."
I could believe it! The forgotten gallon of milk had escalated quickly into Dave being a pretty horrible monster. While Donna tried to compose herself, I just kept thinking, Don't cry over spilt milk. Or in this case, Don't scream over forgotten milk.
DON'T MESS WITH DONNA
On my drive home, I thought about Donna's fiery reaction. It was almost as if she was yelling at someone who wasn't even in the room. And because I know Donna, I think that might actually have been true.
Donna's father left home when she was a girl. He would come around occasionally during her childhood but wasn't reliable at all. When she married, she had hopes that Dave would fill the hole in her heart. And yet—as Dave quickly discovered in their marriage—nothing he did could heal the gaping wound her father had inflicted. Unhealed, she expected men to behave toward her as her father had. And even when they were really good guys, like Dave, she magnified their failings as if to squeeze them into a dad-shaped mold.
Excerpted from 13 Women You Should Never Marry by Mary Colbert. Copyright © 2015 Mary Colbert. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Foreword Don Colbert xi
1 Beware of Blinded Brenda 5
2 Ditch Dominating Donna 19
3 Hasten from Holy Holly 31
4 Turn Away from Trophy Tina 45
5 Take a Pass on Prideful Patty 61
6 Chase Away Critical Cathy 75
7 Avoid Addicted Annie 89
8 Back Away from Broke Betsy 103
9 Mind Your Manners with Married Mindy 117
10 Leave Behind Lying Linda 131
11 Let Go of Lazy Lucy 147
12 Stay Away from Sad Sally 163
13 Navigate Away from Nervous Nellie 177
A Final Word 191
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I thought this was going to be satirical and funny and poking fun at all other books like this, but then, it turned out to be one of those other books like this. It was completely serious. I think one of the issues is that this book expects you to find a woman who does not have flaws and who does not have bad traits, but the thing is, unless she's inhuman, she's going to have parts of some of these women in the book! Of course, if she's 100% like one of these chapters, that's one thing, but at the end of each chapter, it lists traits that each "kind" of woman could have and to avoid anyone with any of these traits. Most likely, she's going to have a sprinkling here and there of these various traits. So will the reader! Very unrealistic and still funny but not because it's trying to be funny. It's funny because it's so ridiculous.