Aleteia

A short testament to the tenderness that exists within a couple by St. John-Paul II

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We meed to learn how to be tender and show it, because it’s essential for the well-being of a relationship.

Tenderness makes love blossom. No couple can remain viable without cultivating it. But first, we need to understand the nature of the tenderness our relationship requires. St. John Paul II has provided us with a wonderful definition. 

“Tenderness is the ability to feel with and for the whole person”

“My partner is both present and absent at the same time.” These words tell us that perhaps tenderness consists in the quality of our presence. A certain intimate knowledge is required so that our gestures do not seem automatic and lose their significance. 

In his “Love and Responsibility,” Karol Wojtyla (the future pope John-Paul II) explains that “tenderness is the ability to feel with and for the whole person, to feel even the most deeply hidden spiritual tremors, and always to have in mind the true good of that person.” The attention we manifest to our partner cannot be compulsory or condescending. True tenderness procures strength and energy to confront the hardship in our daily existence. 

Tenderness is not sentimentality

True tenderness is disinterested and permanent; it is not a ploy to obtain sexual gratification. But it is vital in banishing anxiety, misunderstandings, and stimulating physical abandon. Tenderness nurtures love and allows it to be expressed in concrete terms. It provides gentleness to fire up the desire that knows its highs and lows. It helps the couple go through periods of continence.

Tenderness that exists between the parents is a priceless gift for their children. It envelops every single one of them and offers them a sense of security and confidence. They grow up stronger and more stable.

St. John Paul II pointed out that tenderness must be combined with firmness, so it doesn’t turn into sickly sentimentality. The tenderness that exists between husband and wife is different from the one we give our children. It is devoid of mothering, combined with firmness so it corresponds to the maturity of the relationship and elevates the other. It’s a way of reassuring our partner by showing how interesting, unique, and important they are in our eyes.

Sophie Lutz

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