Tenderness understands the mood of others and communicates closeness; it flows from affectivity by benevolence and it is distinguished from sensuality that tends to the enjoyment of the body.
Tenderness shows its disinterest in the attention paid to persons and their inner situations, but it risks disappearing in satisfying the need of affectivity. Man is limited and also his or her disinterest, which has to be educated towards doing well by affirming the dignity of others; that is charity to one's own self, realized in the act of love.
There is a right to accept tenderness, such as that of manifesting it; it is even dutiful to those who need it, but if excessive it can degenerate into affective interest or desire for enjoyment that excite selfishness.
Therefore true love is tender and firm, but it is not softened nor weakened in the struggle for the person and his or her good.
The tenderness that appears as love, but is deprived of it, is external seduction with selfishness of senses and concealed feelings, while the continence opens to true love with sacrifice and renunciation.
Forming and cultivating virtues requires inner effort and responsibility in order not to take too advantage of affectivity and sensuality.
Premature or exaggerated tenderness is not at the service of a true and objective love. Without temperance, chastity and continence, the risk is to seek only an immediate pleasure, which does not come to good; such love does not renew but extinguishes.
The participation with feelings and the commitment bring closer in love by understanding, more than by affectivity. This tenderness saves conjugal love from enjoyment only and selfishness, strengthens the consciousness of the union by feeling the motions of the soul and provides for the good of the person, who needs deep motivations, which make him or her great. In fact, instinct alone does not realize, but it is integrated in reason, in the inner sense of responsibility; it is also linked to procreation, with that love that is source and end of the mankind becoming, even when it is not attainable; if that is ignored or distorted, the harmony and fulfilment in marital expression are not achieved.