There are times when my husband slips his hand around my waist or tries to pull me aside for a full on hug, and in my busyness or preoccupation (or mood) I'm reluctant to be tender back. Do you ever find yourself hesitating to reach out in the kind of quiet, gentle, explosive gentleness shared between two who love? Why do we miss the promise of tender opportunities?
Tenderness is power when we take the opportunity. Unfortunately, our world looks on tenderness as weakness, even for women, who were once the source of the gentle touches our world and relationships are gasping for. If we read and listen to the words our time, we can get the impression that tenderness is only powerful when it's a well timed, intelligently orchestrated assertion as part of a plan. Not so says the Lord.
- God's mercy is described as "tender" (Luke 1:77-79).
- Tenderness is an appropriate expression of the kind of love shown by the humble Christ, the love we're meant to grow and master (Philippians 2:1-3) towards others.
Both words indicate a passionate affection representing feelings like kindness, benevolence, and compassion. It's a word not far off from the word used to describe meekness in those who will inherit the earth and in gentle women who have the kind of beauty God considers to be of great worth.
- He didn't think it was seen, but I saw a young husband reach a finger over to his wife's knee and give it the stroke of "I'm aware of you" beside him. Tender.
- I saw a wife steal her hand under her husband's arm to wrap her love around him as they sat side by side. Tender.
- I saw a husband place his hand on the back of his wife's waist in a quiet statement of joy in their mutual possession. Tender.
- I saw a wife lean over to whisper something private in her husband's ear, finishing it off with a smile from her eyes to his. Tender.
What keeps us from doing the action of tenderness? I'm not creepy, but I learn so much about the beauty of "tender" from noticing these little acts of obedience to God's prompting planted in the hearts of lovers. Especially in a time of stress, challenge, weariness, confusion, uncertainty, or failure, men need the tenderness of a wife's touch and look and voice to be the balm only she can give. A beautiful thing about "tender" is that it bears the fruits of closeness, security, pleasure, comfort, and giving. Tender.
I think the world would applaud and nominate me for "woman who gets it" of the year when I ignore my husband's tenderness or tell my own urges to "wait" while I do things like post a blog, cut a cucumber, check a text, or hear the news. I must be ready to drop my guard, stop my work, take off my mask, and unbind the passionate affection God planted in the fabric of my spirit when He made me and knew I would be a wife.
Tenderness is powerful when we take the opportunity.
It won't be long before the Author of love will prompt us to reach out in tenderness to our mate, granting us the promise of powerful fruit in our marriages. Let's be tender.
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