Keeping It Old Fashioned? How to Ask Her Parents for Their Blessing Before Proposal

4 minute read

Tradition is important when it comes to marriage. One tradition of marriage is first seeking the approval of your significant other’s (SO) parents prior to proposing. 

If you’re not the most outgoing person, you may be shaking in your shoes – especially if your SO’s father or mother is an especially harrowing character. But where do you even begin in planning to ask? 

You’re probably frantically Googling: 

How to ask parents for blessing

How to get father’s approval

How make GF dad say yes

Me want marry how do

Okay, maybe not the last one. 

But beyond the “how to,” why would you even ask in the first place? 

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Why Ask Her Parents? 

The father and mother of your soon-to-be fiance have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to getting married. But the buck doesn’t stop there. More importantly, they’re YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER’S PARENTS. 

They’ve raised your significant other, loved them from day one and have given them nearly everything they can, as if they are their world – and chances are, they are. 

Asking prior to marriage had historical relevance because, well, women were treated as property. The father basically owned their daughters, using them for at-home labor, and to lose them would be a major issue. They’d only give away their daughter if (a) they received a cash incentive, (b) their daughter was marrying into a family who had connections or (c) a bit of both. 

This is still relevant in some cultures, but in the United States, the tradition has taken the form as a means of common courtesy. You ask because you want to ensure your SO’s parents are okay with you becoming part of their family. 

family talk with son

What You’ll Need to Do

You’re not alone if you’re unsure where to begin. What is it you say to your SO’s parents, especially if you’re not exceptionally close? 

First, you’ll want to consider your approach. More progressive parents might see asking for their permission as sexist – as if they have final say over their daughter’s life. If that’s the case, ask them instead for their “blessing.” This is a simple way to avoid the discussion of ownership, instead positioning the ask as a sign-off – not a final say. 

You’ll also want to approach the situation respectfully. That involves preparing. You need to make sure you prepare what you want to say. Chances are you’ll feel stressed when the time comes to ask them. So go in with a game plan to avoid cracking under pressure. 

Finally, consider who it is you’re going to talk to. If your partner is close with both parents, you may want to sit them both down – it shows you see them as equals, rather than only asking the father. Otherwise, you’ll want to ask who has the best relationship with your partner, especially if their parents are divorced.

parents discuss with son

Okay. But What If They Tell You “No!”?

Most people expect their SO’s parents to always say yes, but that’s not always the case. What do you do in the event that they say you’re not allowed to marry their child? 

First of all, you should do what you can to find out why they said no. If it’s something you can work on, either alone or with your SO, then you should let them know you’ll work on it and ask again in due time. 

However, you may find that they’re saying no for reasons other than not wanting to see their child married to you – perhaps because they still dream of them marrying the Golden Child who lived down the street from them when growing up. 

If you feel inclined to go against their wishes, you’re welcome to do so. However, you should tell your SO about it. They might be with you in wanting to go against their parents’ wishes. However, they may decide to listen to their family. 

Just make sure everything remains chill between you and your SO. 

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