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“True love waits” silver purity ring

“True Love Waits” is the most common and popular inscription on purity rings. Curiously, this phrase does not have a direct correlation with any Bible verse (which is not a problem per se). This makes it more difficult to deal with common request to translate the words “True Love waits” into Latin (something one might wish to do for a personalized purity ring).

First of all, the Latin nouns that denote “love” have many undesirable connotations, some of them quite distant from the idea of purity. “Amor”, seemingly the most obvious candidate, very often specifically means “sexual love” – not exactly proper for a ring that promotes abstinence. Conversely, he sense of Love in “True Love Waits” is more encompassing and contains sexual love only as a component that is supposed to be fully revealed when the time is right. However, amor is still the most widely used word for love. At its core it has the proper meaning. Ancient Christian sources use “amor verus” (true love) a number of times. So, I suppose, amor is OK as a term on a purity pledge ring.

Secondly, it is not easy to find a suitable word for “wait” in Latin. S.H. Taylor’s translation of Doederlein’s dictionary of Latin synonyms comments on this: “For the German distinction between warten and harren , the former denoting calm, passionless waiting for, the latter, eager, impatient longing for, the Latins have no corresponding synonyms. I tried several different words: exspectat, moratur, manet, cunctatur. Exspectat is probably best, especially taking into consideration this verse from the Vulgate:

beatus qui expectat et pervenit ad dies mille trecentos triginta quinque

Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
(Dan 12:12)

So, after long deliberations I decided to suggest this translation:

Amor verus expectat

Nevertheless, this is one case when I would encourage people to use English, instead of Latin. Every seminary student knows that Greek has many words that mean “love”. Well, if English has one word with just the right mixture of connotations, why not use English? I don’t think that the phrase “True love waits” is in any danger of being misunderstood. If Latin is a must, why not go with:

iuvenilia autem desideria fuge sectare vero iustitiam fidem caritatem pacem cum his qui invocant Dominum de corde puro

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

(2 Tim 2:22)

Also, there is a wonderful Classical quote:

Quos amor verus tenuit, tenebit – True love will hold on to those whom it has held. (Seneca)

The need for “waiting” can be seen as implied here.

Apart from “True love waits” people often choose these English inscriptions for their purity rings:

Purity

Pure

Pure before God

Faith

When You Have Faith, Anything is Possible

I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.

Jesus

Chaste

Chastity (Purity rings are also sometimes referred to as chastity rings)

You can also ad the person’s name of the personalized purity ring, but as far as I can tell this is not a widely used practice. The reason for this is partially in the fact that some purity rings are distributed through special events and programs that promote chastity.

For promise rings see also:

White Gold Promise Ring – Meaning and Significance

Men’s Promise Rings: Simple, Discreet, Meaningful

Promise Rings: History and Meaning