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One of the downfalls of all humankind is to be in love. You wear these rose colored glasses and quote the scripture: Love covers a multitude of sin. (Proverbs 10:12) And yes, it does. However, much to our detriment, love blinds us to faults that we need to be looking at with great scrutiny. Wouldn’t it be great to see the details of different women’s personalities to warn us of the pitfalls that come with them? Well, the sad part is, we ALL have the potential to stand at either side of the spectrum. All of our virtues can sink into drastic failure or blow up into obnoxious arrogance. The secret is to develop hindsight. Hindsight only comes from looking in the rear view mirror. Looking in the rear view mirror means that we have come a certain distance already. The distance certainly signifies that we have traveled. The traveling indicates experience. Experience only comes after…well, experience! Naturally, we all have a certain quota of personality traits. Some are good, and some not so good, but all have this potential of slamming against the extremes, neither of which are desirable.

Therefore, we would be wise to examine ourselves to determine where “self” lies. Where do we need to grow? Where do we need self-control? What mediocre area can we learn to develop into something superior? Add to this dilemma a mate who is standing on the same teeter totter, and you have disaster. Especially if their not-so-good traits tend to drive you completely bananas! We’ve all been there! When we are young and stupid, we tend to think that our love is capable of overcoming everything and most of the time not even have a clue about what will bother us about our potential mate until we have already tied the knot. In scripture, we are prompted to “examine ourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5), as well as put ourselves in a position to be examined by God (Psalm 17:3 and Psalm 26:2).

After we have examined ourselves, and let God scrutinize us, we should examine the person who we are dating or considering as a spouse. No one will meet the ideal or perfect person standard. However, if the other person is examining themselves, and letting God examine them in order to grow, develop and transform into the person God created, they will come close to being “perfect” for us. There will still be times we are tested, and put on edge! We are after all, still human even in our examining and growing! We must also allow our mates the same areas of leniency and grace as we, ourselves, need.

Mary Colbert, Co-Author of New York Times Bestseller Seven Pillars of Health has written a book to help both men and women to examine and therefore, recognize essential qualities in our personalities. We will be able to search ourselves as women to reveal where we need help as well as for the men, to recognize qualities – undesirable and desirable – in their potential mate. It is a very good book, and one that I recommend as a basic standard to test the types of women that men should never marry. Maybe you’re one of them. Maybe you have the qualities of several depicted in the book. I recognize myself—or should I say my “past” self as well as my extreme “potential” self in these pages.

There were a few things that “turned me off”. The use of real names, like Brenda, Cathy, Sally, etc. I would have preferred she use other expressive identifiers or unique tags instead of first names, but that’s my opinion. Perhaps this comes from seeing my own name used in a negative connotation (not in this book) as Debbie Downer. I am anything but a downer, but it reminds me of school days where your name rhymes or blends with a descriptive word and is used to bully or poke fun. There’s also this underlying theme that these identities are boxed up and tied with a bow. Although Ms. Colbert expresses the positive side of each characteristic and clearly provides a wonderful constructive side and caution side of each personality trait, I couldn’t get away from the word pictures that she was painting. The reader may tend to hang on to the revelation of an extreme downside of a person when in fact, she may be a “growing in beauty and holiness” person who will be a delight as a mate. We are quick to be condescending and look upon these frames as someone to stay away from and miss the beauty that is emerging.

I realize that this is not the Author’s intention as she purposes to identify and help us detect the bells and whistles that should be going off when around certain “harmful” people. They are merely warning signs to look deeper and to examine further for hidden pitfalls, but if we don’t hear the bells or see the flashing lights, we might miss the potential traps altogether. So, just like the scrutiny of our own growth potential-transformation sabotage balance beam, let us look at our friends in the same light. Just don’t forget that some of us are transforming and growing and need support, not further hindrance. Besides looking and listening for the warning signs of downfall, let us also be recognizing the great strides towards being the masterpieces that God created us to be and keep pressing onward towards the mark!