MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, has spent four decades empowering young and adult women to pursue positive, productive womanhood.
In the Song of Songs, also known as Song of Solomon, the male lover refers to his beloved lady as a private garden comprised of “all the finest spices” (4:14). Spices have both flavor and fragrance and are an appropriate metaphor for a good woman.
Each woman is an exclusive spice mix, accentuating the flavors (her essential characteristics) and fragrances (her lingering influence) which are most appropriate for her purpose. A good woman protects and preserves her uniqueness. She strives to be the best of who she is, while inspiring other women—sisters, daughters, female students—to be the best of who they are.
The Song offers some helpful views for our consideration. Here are four which all good women would do well to adopt.
4 Key Habits of a Good Woman
- Recognize your flavor and fragrance.
- Keep company with complementary flavors.
- Maximize your fragrance.
- Take personal inventory.
1. Recognize Your Flavor and Fragrance
Be confident: The woman in the Song makes a bold self-assessment; “My perfume spread its fragrance” (1:12). In response to her lover’s compliment, she declares with confidence, “Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere." (4:16).
Do you know your flavor? It is what people commend you for, most often.
Do you know your fragrance? It is what lingers in their memory of you.
Recognize your character strengths and appreciate rather than downplay them. Don't be shy about naming them: purity, resilience, charisma, versatility, humor and so on. Recognizing your attributes will prevent you from depending on other people for acceptance and discourage you from imitating someone else. It will help you find your niche in your community and empower you to be the woman God designed you to be.
2. Keep Company With Complementary Flavors
Don't let yours be overpowered: In the Song of Songs, the woman says to her lover, “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms” (1:14). Henna is a fragrant shrub popular for marking garden boundaries. She recognizes his flavor and fragrance, and hopefully he recognizes hers. Together, they must make a comfortable blend.
If someone does not recognize and appreciate your qualities, and does not give you the respect you deserve, step back and wait for a complementary blend. The character strengths of both you and the other person must empower, not conflict with or downplay one another.
In complementary relationships, there will be:
- no control and abuse (physical, mental, sexual) from a friend or lover;
- no compromise of standards in exchange for acceptance;
- freedom to develop individuality;
- peer support instead of peer pressure.
True friendship includes accentuating the good in each other. Relationships which stifle you will rob you of your zest for life and make you bitter. Bitterness will overpower your sweetness, and give you reason to hate yourself. Find friends who accept you and your flavor. When you have mutual respect, you have a pleasant blend.
3. Maximize Your Fragrance
You are one of a kind: Helen Steiner Rice (1900–1981) lost her father to an influenza epidemic when she was 18 and her husband to suicide after three years of marriage. Instead of allowing her virtuous faith to diminish, she forced herself to express it in verse. Today, some of the best lines quoted to comfort grief come from her pen. Her literary fragrance permeates the world with inspirational messages that are uniquely hers.
Maintain your essence despite negative situations like heartbreak, ill-health, financial deals gone bad. Get help, if necessary.
- Let your sense of purpose inspire you to keep positive no matter how the struggles of life threaten to make you bitter.
- Resist self-defeating attitudes. They can lead to moral detours. They can turn you into a grouchy old woman who make young women fearful to live past forty.
Women who persevere at maintaining their virtues age admirably. Their sweet nature keeps them loving and lovable. Their perfumed attitude keeps them spirited, focused and determined to pursue and fulfill their purpose. They become charming old ladies in their later years. Or as the man says of the woman in the Song, "The young women saw her and called her blessed . . . praised her" (6:9).
4. Take Personal Inventory
Maintain your flavor and fragrance at all times: Life takes its toll on everything, and spices can lose their potency; but the woman in the Song has a testimony of growth, not of decline. "I was a virgin, like a wall," she declares, "now my breasts are like towers. When my lover looks at me, he is delighted with what he sees." (8:10 NLT) Her moral strength resembled a wall of protection around her virtues and her faithfulness has made her grow into a desirable woman.
To experience similar progress in your womanhood, schedule regular sessions to remove stale items from your psyche and refill with new-improved strengths. Engage in reflection:
- Are my character strengths (purity, resilience, charisma, versatility, humor and so on) still functional?
- Have I become too tired to care? Too overwhelmed with personal problems? Might I need a physical, emotional, spiritual, renewal?
- Am I measuring my successes by comparison with my colleague's or my worth by the number of compliments I receive from others?
- Do I engage in personal devotions for my personal empowerment?
Taking care of yourself is a prerequisite for influencing others. God made you a woman intentionally. He made you with the potential to demonstrate His flavor and fragrance in your roles as daughter, sister, wife and mother. Your feminine characteristics are an asset to your productivity and progress. You can be soft and strong, gentle and godly, womanly and wise.
Being the Best Example of a Good Woman You Can Be
“Woman was the crowning act of God’s creation.” writes E. G. White. “She was the most beautiful creature that God made.”
The world watches as you go through your struggles and challenges, and if they see you remaining true to who you are, true to the womanhood principles in the Song of Songs, you are the best example of a good woman that some people know.
Note: Bible quotes are from the New International Version unless stated otherwise.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Dora Weithers