When I’ve discussed marriage in class settings and in private counseling, I have sometimes made a statement that the greatest influence that a wife can have on her husband will be through her tenderness. In fact, I have said that tenderness is one of the greatest influences for good in the world.
During a small group session, a woman in our ward asked: “What is tenderness?” At that moment, I didn’t give a very clear answer, but after thinking about the question for months, I am ready to give it another try.
Tenderness is gentleness expressed with genuine caring. It is seeing beyond the moment into a human need, and to respond to that need with kindness. It is honest touch with the intent to heal and comfort. It is eyes that search and care. It is sincere, undistracted attention. It is the consolation of body and soul. It is the magnet that draws us home and into the arms of loved ones.
Tenderness does not go only one way—from wife to husband and children. It may seem less natural for a husband to express it than a wife, but he is equally able learn how to express it as well. Everyone needs and wants to feel the tender care of another.
No other power or influence in this world will have a greater effect in drawing your loved ones to you and to the light of heaven than your tender thoughts, feelings, and gestures.