I should preface this by saying that my boyfriend and I didn’t use the word “love” between us for over a year. Instead, we said something else: “I have faith.”
This morning one of my friends from high school asked me where our saying came from, what it means, and why we do it. I spent about 40 minutes writing back to her and really liked the response I gave, so I decided to paste it here so I’d be able to share it with the world.
Last year, when Davis and I first started going out, I was talking with my friend Dara about boyfriends and whatnot (since I hadn’t had one before him). We got to talking about saying “I love you” and I told her that I was afraid of just throwing those words around without actually meaning them. Because really, after you say that, there’s not anything you can say that means more than that, and it’s not something that you can easily take back if you make a mistake. And at that point I wanted to take precautions since he was (and still is) my first boyfriend, and I didn’t want to rush into saying things we didn’t mean. I also didn’t want to be left completely devastated if it didn’t work out between us right off the bat.
She offered her suggestion, because she felt the same way with her boyfriend. She said that they say “I have faith” to each other instead. (I’ll get to the meaning of it in a minute) I really liked it, not only because it was something sweet that we could say to each other that was similar to “I love you,” but also because it was uniquely us. I talked it over with Davis and expressed my concerns about telling him that I loved him prematurely (obviously at that point we hadn’t said it at all). He was feeling the same thing and really liked the idea, so we started saying “I have faith” and decided not to say “I love you” until we were both ready to.
So as to what it means… When we say “I have faith” to each other, it means that we have faith that everything will work out between us. We have faith in the relationship and faith in each other. We have faith that we’re meant to be together, because we really both feel that we are. For about a year it meant that we had faith that the right day would come when we could finally tell each other that we loved each other. Because believe me, it got REALLY hard not to tell him. That day did come, and it was really amazing to be able to say it. We waited until it was just right, until we were absolutely sure that it was true. We’d put a lot of emphasis on that word (“love”), and to finally say it and mean everything that it meant to us was really wonderful.
But I think what I like the most about it is this: while we do say “I love you” now, we still say “I have faith,” because both of us still do have faith. It still means so much to us. To us, the whole thing – the progression from saying “I have faith” to “I love you” – really felt right, and that’s why we did it.
Thank you, Stephanie. You really brightened my day!