Asking the Father


Hey there,

I was wondering if ya’ll could satisfy a question I have that doesn’t exactly pertain to myself at the moment, but I hope it will in the future.

Background info:
So I was talking with some girls that are with me in the language immersion program I am in, in China:) , and they were asking about my GF and everything. Eventually, I told them that we are planning on getting married in the future (God willing) and somehow we got on the subject of asking the bride-to-be’s father for permission.

So here’s my actual question, how does that work, exactly. Would I just get him and I alone and just ask if it would be alright with him if I married his daughter??? Do you propose first and then ask her father? Or other way around? Do you ask more for his blessing rather than permission? Do guys still ask their perspective fiance’s father for his permission nowadays?

I guess I dont need to know right away, not for a couple years at the bare minimum I suppose, but it sure would be nice if you could satisfy my curiosity!



It depends on how traditional the girl’s family is. If she is living with her father at the time that you wish to propose to her, then yes, the “done” thing would be to inform him of your intention to ask her to marry you, and seek out his blessing and his advice.

On the other hand, if she has been living on her own for several years, or if her parents are divorced and she isn’t really in contact with her father all that much, then you don’t really need to ask him or let him know ahead of time.


How about you wait until you get to that point? It varies. Some dads don’t want to be asked, and would be offended if you did. Some dads think of their daughters as property. There are variances in between.

You might try asking the young woman first. Then, depending on what she tells you, you can tell her parents together as a couple, or you can ask her father’s “blessing” to marry her when you go to see him by yourself.

In our house, my husband would look at you, slap you on the back and say, “Why didn’t you ask her first?” or “Hey, you should know- Once you’re married, no refunds, no exhcanges. You’re stuck with her!”


Here’s the thing: you’re asking for his blessing, not his permission. The mistake some people seem to be making is thinking that asking for a blessing makes the daughter a posession of the father. Far from it.

When you approach her father, it is a sign of respect to her entire family that you are asking the head of the household for his blessing on your union. Of course, you would not ask of the daughter did not expect you to propose. You are not asking him to hand over the keys to the family car, after all.

The father’s blessing is a sign that the family accepts you as part of the family and welcomes you. It is not necessary, but who wants to forgoe a blessing?

To me it is also a sign that you are humble enough to seek the advice of your elders and are willing to listen to them. As for the fathers that mock this tradition, well, I feel like they are demeaning the value of their daughter and the sanctity of marriage.


DS2 just proposed to his girlfriend. Her stipulation had always been that he had to ask her dad first.

When SIL wanted to marry DD her approached her father and asked for permission to ask her. I later told him that I hoped that if DH had said ‘no’ he was still going to ask her.

DH never asked my dad. We just confronted them with the fact of our engagement.


Consent needs to be given by the woman, not by her father. Asking for a blessing is a different story.


Spot on, Chevalier.


Salonika Quote:

Originally Posted by chevalier
Consent needs to be given by the woman, not by her father. Asking for a blessing is a different story.

Spot on, Chevalier.

Yup. Agreed.

CCC 2230 When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel.* Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. *This necessary restraint does not prevent them - quite the contrary from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family.

I had sort of missed the judicious advice part. We have a married son and daughter in law. I’ll let them know the Church says they need our judicious advice. but I wonder if they might have a different measure of what qualifies as ‘judicious’ …?

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