Asking parents for a marital blessing?

I have a few questions regarding asking for parents’ blessing when getting engaged.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 years and within the next year are planning on getting engaged. We have 2 years left of college and are planning on getting married after we graduate.

I am not a fan of the future husband asking the girl’s dad for “permission” as I am not my dad’s property, however, I have a really great relationship with both of my parents. So does my boyfriend.

Is it appropriate for the man to ask both sets of parents for their blessing to get engaged? Does he only have to ask my parents? Should we do it together? Before or after we get engaged?

We have a bad feeling that he will not get his parents blessing because they are really uptight. It’s not that they don’t want us to get married but their reasoning is that we need to finish school because if we can’t afford our own schooling, then we can’t afford a wedding. However, we are only getting engaged. We aren’t getting married until after we graduate. We are planning a small, as inexpensive as possible, wedding as well.

If he does not receive his parents blessing, do we still go ahead and get engaged and count them out of the deal until they are willing to accept our decision? They can be really difficult people sometimes and it is rather frustrating. The whole rest of our families would support our decision except for his two parents. Where do we draw the line on honoring thy mother and father? If there is a line to be drawn…

Do we sit down together and ask for each parents blessing or does he need to just do it alone? Is that even something we still have to do? They all know we are going to get engaged, do we really need their ‘blessing’?

Thank you!

Don’t ask for a blessing from anybody for your engagement unless you are planning on not getting engaged if you don’t get their blessing. That’s more disrespectful than just getting engaged and informing them afterwards.

Best wishes!

This. Since you are adults who will be making an adult commitment to each other, you do not need your parents’ permission or blessing. You might want to invite them to dinner to tell them your plans and have them celebrate with you – but I would not couch it as asking; you are telling.

Best wishes!

Very bad advice IMO. Most couples probably have a good idea if they will get the girl’s parent’s blessing. But if they have to consider ahead of time they case where they won’t, and they follow your advice, they will never ask.
OTH, if they ask, they give up the chance of getting some really good advice from the parents. If the parent’s do not give their blessing, they may have a very good reason. Perhaps the reason does not rise to the level of calling off the engagement, but even then it may raise a concern that the couple should address before moving forward. Many dads will wait until the formal asking before they say exactly what is on their mind. My daughter is likely to get engaged in the next few months. I fully expect her boyfriend to ask me ahead of time. And I do have a condition that it will be dependent on. I will not talk to her boyfriend about this issue until the time comes that he asks. Simply because it is not my place to do so. I have told her my concern. It is her time to deal with it, not mine. But I will tell him my concern at the time he asks for my permission/blessing. BTW, all indications is he is a very good young man.

Its a good tradition, it serves a valid purpose. Do not give it up because you are trying to guess the outcome ahead of time.

A man does not ask the girl’s father for permission because he feels that she is the property of her father. Rather he does so because he realized that the father is ultimately responsible for the girl’s well being. Its ok to ask for a blessing, rather than permission, but leave it up to your boyfriend. It is really his affair, not yours.

Is it appropriate for the man to ask both sets of parents for their blessing to get engaged? Does he only have to ask my parents? Should we do it together? Before or after we get engaged?

Again, it should be up to your boyfriend if he asks both or just your father. But do NOT do it together. Do not take away from your parents the chance to have that conversation with your boyfriend alone. It very likely could be very important to your father. These “silly traditions” have been around a long time for a reason. Do not discard them lightly.

We have a bad feeling that he will not get his parents blessing because they are really uptight.

I would not as concerned about getting his parent’s blessing. You do not need to ask his parents anything. I think simply sitting down with them after the fact and informing them is fine.

I disagree. This might be construed as exerting pressure (one way or the other) in the adult child’s choice of a spouse.

Of course the end result of a boy asking the girl’s father for permission results in some level of ‘exerting pressure one way or the other in the girls choice of a spouse.’ What the heck is wrong with that. I have told my kids for years on various qualities a future spouse should have. The specific intent of those talks has been to exert pressure on their choice.

My gosh, what the heck are parents for? Just feed and bath and shelter the kids and beyond that watch them like a watch-maker?

  1. My in-laws (particularly my FIL) freaked out when they heard about our engagement. If we had had to wait for their approval, we might still be waiting. After they’d met me once and had breakfast and gone to church with me (so, let’s say no more than 60-90 minutes total of conversation), they gave my future husband a huge download of all of what they believed to be my faults. Oh, how I cried! I’d been trying so hard to make a good impression! (Which didn’t help at all, of course.) I think it took my FIL 10 years and 2 kids to realize that I wasn’t an evil cradle snatcher who’d stolen their 25-year-old PhD son. It’s true that we married on a faster schedule than they were comfortable with, but the truth is that my FIL was never going to like the idea of his son getting married to anybody. He literally stopped talking to both of us for about 10 years and started talking to my husband again only after a serious family crisis. (There were some extenuating circumstances on FIL’s part–after a bunch of drama from his side of the family (saying they would not attend our wedding, etc.), we got married without telling them for a fairly long time, but at the same time, 10 years! 10 years!)

  2. They can still get lots of good advice after announcing the engagement to their parents, especially since it’s going to be a 2-year engagement.

  3. “Many dads will wait until the formal asking before they say exactly what is on their mind.” That’s dumb of “many dads”. Three years into a daughter dating somebody is way too late to bring up concerns. Heck, one year is probably way too late. By that time, the train has left the station.

  4. I approve of your idea of just talking to the daughter about concerns until there is an official engagement in the works, but before that, one can still occasionally (occasionally!) ask boyfriend stuff like, “So when are you finishing up that degree?” or “So, when do you plan to get a job?” or “So, how long do you plan to live with your parents?” or “So, how many years are you going to give your acting/waitstaff career before you give up on it?” That’s totally kosher, I think, as long as you don’t ask a nuclear question like that more than 4 times a year.

Lincat,

On reflection, maybe you should tell your boyfriend’s parents that you are engaged and ask for their blessing.

That’s somewhat traditional, but at the same time, it makes it very clear that you are not asking their permission.

That is a rather extreme situation. And I never said that a couple needed to wait for their parents 'permission, especially the boy’s parents. What I said is the boy should ask the girl’s father. If they are not reasonable in their refusal, their advice does not have to be followed. I do not think that shows any less respect.

  1. They can still get lots of good advice after announcing the engagement to their parents, especially since it’s going to be a 2-year engagement.

Of course they can, and they likely will. But there is one formal chance for a boy to talk to the girl’s father, where everyone understands what is going on. Don’t give it up.

  1. “Many dads will wait until the formal asking before they say exactly what is on their mind.” That’s dumb of “many dads”. Three years into a daughter dating somebody is way too late to bring up concerns. Heck, one year is probably way too late. By that time, the train has left the station.

You did not read what I wrote, or I was not clear. In my case, I made my concern very clear to my daughter early on. I am positive that she has had discussions (she had these discussions prior to me talking to her) with her boyfriend about the issue. It would be intrusive of me and pointless for me to discuss it with him at this point. It is not an issue that can be solved in one conversation. But I want to hear his response to it from him personally, without her present, directly to me. And I do not think it appropriate to force him to discuss it unless he is at the point of wanting to get engaged to her. It would be, IMO, out of place and disrespectful to him.

  1. I approve of your idea of just talking to the daughter about concerns until there is an official engagement in the works, but before that, one can still occasionally (occasionally!) ask boyfriend stuff like, “So when are you finishing up that degree?” or “So, when do you plan to get a job?” or “So, how long do you plan to live with your parents?” or “So, how many years are you going to give your acting/waitstaff career before you give up on it?” That’s totally kosher, I think, as long as you don’t ask a nuclear question like that more than 4 times a year.

So maybe you did read my point, I am not for sure why it was ‘dumb’ then.

And what’s wrong with that? While I think that “pressure” is a strong word, parenting doesn’t end when the clock strikes midnight on a child’s 18th birthday. Parental influence and input is a good thing, especially for big life choices.

Something like “you have my blessing, as long as you marry in the Church” or “you have my blessing as long as you wait until you graduate to get married” sound like perfectly fine statements.

It’s not like anyone is going to “forbid” a marriage or drag an unwilling bride to the altar. :eek:

Totally agree here! You are both adults and there is no reason to involve your parents in this except to let them be the first to offer their congratulations.

I do not understand this mentality at all. Marriage is a public affair, the family is the basic unit of our society. Independence is a good thing, in moderation.
I can think of lots of people who it is proper to involve, at various levels, in a decision to be married.
I suppose the Church should have no say either?

And I do not understand this mentality at all. :shrug:

Two adults choosing to marry and start a family of their own. If their parents approve or not is really of no concern to them or to the Church. Their ability to marry has nothing to do with the parents. In the pre-marriage counseling/prep, there is no mention of parental approval nor are we expected to show that our parents approve. We are expected to show that we have received the sacraments and are members of that church community.

I don’t know about your marriage prep, but when my husband and I got married, it was definitely one of the topics of the pre-cans counseling. There was a significant amount of discussion on how the extended family felt about the marriage and the extent to which extended family might be involved with both the marriage and the family going forward.

Parents are often older, wiser, they can provide good advise. Approval of the parents is not necessary, I agree, but of no concern? Really? I would think even in the example given by a poster above about a guy’s parents being totally unreasonable, I am sure it was a concern. If nothing else, one would have to determine how the estrangement will affect them.

BTW, for the Church to marry us, we have to show more than what you say. Quite simply two adults choose to marry, but they do not necessarily get to if the Church says no.

Not ours.

Actually, our priest was quite adamant about this being about “us” and not about our parents. That it was about us starting a new life together separate from our parents. I remember this came up because he discouraged brides from being escorted by their father unless they really insisted on it. My own father was deceased so it was a non-issue.

My husband did speak to my mother before proposing to me. It wasn’t to ask for a blessing. It was just to inform her what his intentions were. He wasn’t sure how his parents were going to respond, so he waited until after he proposed to tell them.

I told my father-in-law that I loved his daughter, she loved me, and I intended to propose to her. However, I also told him it would mean a lot to have his blessing (which he gave).

Some of the other posters were spot on about the ‘permission’ aspect being about the father’s concern for the daughter’s well-being, not some ‘property right’ as may have been implied. And I know several men who prefer asking for the father’s ‘blessing’ rather than ‘permission’.

For me, the important thing was to emphasize that I was going to propose, and then ask him to support me in that (he did say that he hoped she said yes - I told him I felt the same way!)

I don’t think that what YOU are doing is dumb, but your description of what “many dads” are doing is dumb behavior. By the one year mark, there should have been some communication, at least between parent and child. If, for instance, a man is concerned that his son-in-law’s dream of becoming a professional rodeo clown or mime is not compatible with his daughter’s dream of 5+ children, why not point that out to the daughter immediately?

I was not saying many dads would not talk to their daughter, just that they will wait until then to talk to the prospective groom. I am certainly going that route. I think it wise.

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