Yea or Nay: Asking For A Daughter's Hand In Marriage


I know that a lot of potential husbands here in the south follow the custom of asking the dad for his daughter’s hand in marriage. First, let me state that I understand that it is a tradition meant to show respect for the family of his future wife. So, in that sense it is positive.:slight_smile:

I have always been uncomfortable though with this tradition . My thinking is that if my daughter is old enough to get married then she is no longer a minor and thus can make her own decisions. I wouldn’t mind if my daughter and her future husband came TOGETHER to us for a blessing but to ask permission just seems to make the woman property. Besides, unless the father really does have the power to say no and the daughter listen to him, then it is a pretty meaningless tradition.

Now I know that not everyone feels the same and that there are some very independent women who would feel honored that there fiance’s followed this custom. I am not trying to offend anyone. I would just like to hear both sides about this custom. From what I am hearing from friends, I am the minority in disliking this.:shrug:

For those who had or want, their future spouse to ask their father’s permission for their hand in marriage, if you dad said that he would pray about it and then returned and said that he decided that you two shouldn’t marry, would you respect his decision?


My father-in-law was already deceased when I wanted to marry my wife, so I went and asked my mother-in-law. It was the best thing to seal my mother-in-law’s approval and our relationship. It’s a matter of respect for your hopefully new family. I have taught my sons that this is a given.


That is a very interesting question. My father was deceased when I got engaged. My now husband asked my mother for her permission to request my hand in marriage.

Had my father been living, and had he returned with such a statement, I think that I would have given his decision serious thought and probably would not have been married. Strangly enough, when my mother granted her consent, she commented that had my father been living, she didn’t think he would have approved. I doubt that was the case, and now my mother would deny ever having said that.

I think that this is a fine custom, but needed be adhered to if the family, or the to-be-engaged couple chooses for good reasons. The family could choose to ignore this custom for most any reason. The to-be-engaged couple, on the other hand may opt to ignore the custom if the daughter and her parents were estranged or the father was not capable and competent or for some other reason still in keeping with honoring one’s parents.


both sons-in-law asked to speak to DH and formally asked permission (or told their intentions) either way it was very sweet, while the girls and mom waited. girls felt it made their engagement special. sure they had already settled things but the gesture was much appreciated.


My parents were deceased before I turned 11, so for my husband, he came to my sister and brother in law, and spoke of his intentions with wanting to marry me, etc. My sister was not for me marrying someone 10 yrs older than me, but we married anyway. We have had some bumpy times but who doesn’t…we have been together now, married, for 16 years…and still going strong! If I had listened to my sister, I would have missed a great blessing in my lfie–and last week, she said on the phone, crying as she said it–that she is so glad I married my husband–and continued to state that she was sorry for being difficult in the beginning. Sometimes, parents/guardians think they know best for us, but they don’t always.

I don’t think that only a son should consider his future inlaws feelings–it should be something that is discussed on both sides…whether your son is marrying a woman, or your daughter is marrying. I think it shows respect on both sides, for either gender to ask for a blessing. Although it has traditionally been men, I think my son will be a great catch someday:) …and I’d like to see that the girl who marries him, respects my husband and me, and comes to us for our blessing as well. I do think it’s a beautiful and respectful gesture on both sides.


My hubby asked for my dad’s blessing, not permission, right after we had already gotten engaged. I don’t care for this tradition much as I’m a grown woman and don’t need permission to marry. I see where you all are coming from, but for me personally, I don’t see the point. That’s just me though…maybe it’s because I’m younger and a little less old-fashioned. :wink:


I agree with you…I don’t believe in asking for permission. I think a blessing is nice, and to hear of the intentions of the person interested in asking for marriage.

I am wondering where the ‘custom’ came from–I have Muslim friends who still believe in dowries–basically a man to ‘pay’ the family a small (or large) stipend when asking for their daughter’s hand in marriage–I wonder if the tradition is somewhat tied into that?:confused:


I did it and fully expect any future son in law to ask me. It is not only out of respect for a fathers headship of the household, but it shows ones level of being a gentleman. As well, if someone is adult enough to get married and make a lifelong commitment, they should be adult enough to have an adult conversation like this.:cool:

Being from the South and having my daughters spend the rest of their lives with someone who is not a gentlemen or has no chivalry about them is simply not an option.:cool: :cool:


There are many ways that a young couple, together, can show respect for each other’s birth family. One of the best ways is being a good spouse to their child or parent to their grandchild. Besides why does the guy ask his future inlaws if his future wife doesn’t ask her future inlaws for permission?

Because I am in the south, I see this custom played out often. I can honestly say that this seems to have no bearing at all on the way the couple treat one another or their future inlaws. I’ve seen both great and horrible marriages in which the future spouse asked the girl’s dad for her hand in marriage. So, I am not convinced that this proves that the guy will respect his future wife or inlaws more because he asks permission of the dad before hand.

I could see the couple coming as a unit to ask BOTH sets of parents for their blessings on their future union, That makes sense to me.


I think it’s an interesting idea, but in my family, my dad would be highly insulted if my boyfriend asked his permission to marry me. He wants me to be an independent adult who can make choices for myself, so if my bf asked him for permission, I’m pretty sure my dad would answer back with something like “Well, how does she feel about it?” On the other hand, though, telling a guy that he has to get my dad’s permission to date or marry me would be an excellent and innovative way of scaring off any jerk that shows an interest in you… :smiley:

I think what the OP said, about asking both sets of parents for a blessing or something is a bit better.


How are you going to stop your daughters from marrying someone that you don’t like?:confused: If your daughters decide to forego this custom, for whatever reason, it isn’t as if you can stop them from getting married. I asked because you said that your daughter not marrying a gentleman was not an option. My own stepfather still will not talk to me twenty years after I married my husband because he disapproved of our marriage. So, I hope that you aren’t quite so rigid.

I don’t see how asking permission proves chivalry or respect for his future bride. I am southern also and I’ve seen this custom produce men who run the gambit from excellent husbands and fathers to guys who beat the living daylights out of their wives daily. I am not seeing that this custom makes any difference in the future marriage.:shrug:

I do respect the intent behind this custom though. It is very good to show respect to the family of your future spouse. I do think that the woman should show equal respect to her inlaws in some way also.

Just curious, grateful dad, if your daughter and future son-in-law came together to ask for a blessing would that be acceptable to you also? Or does the guy have to ask permission first?


DH did not ask my parents for my hand in marriage… not because he didn’t think the custom was nice… but because he knew they wouldn’t be able keep their mouth shut. :stuck_out_tongue:
Immediately after he proposed we went to my parents house and told the whole family… they were all thrilled and completely agreed with his assessment that they wouldn’t have been able to keep a secret… all in good humor and laughter.
We had dated almost 2 years before he proposed… and he knew my family quite well. My parents would have made their thoughts well known had they not found him to be a suitable husband for me.

I think the custom is sweet, though… it certainly isn’t bad, IMO.
My BIL did ask my parents permission to marry my sister. Thankfully, they traveled out of town for the proposal, so my parents didn’t get the chance to blab the news! :smiley:


My DH asked my father for his blessing, not permission as another poster mentioned. My father was so overwhelmed with the sentiment that he could barely speak. :slight_smile: Its something that is a courtesy, not a requirement IMO.


My partner asked my father for his blessing also. I was 30 years old when we wed so it would have been strange for him to ask permission given I was living on my own and quite independent. I think age of the bride is a consideration.


**I definitely think that asking for the father’s blessing is a better way to go than asking “permission”. It should go something like this:

Man: I plan on asking your wonderful daughter to marry me and would love to have your blessing. That’s wonderful man-who-loves-my-daughter (while he wells up with a few tears that he will say is just his allergies acting up)

OR expresses his concerns and he and the man have a chance to have an adult discussion about any misgivings the dad may have.

Either way the choice is still left in the boyfriend’s hands but he has shown the respect to his future father in law that I think is very appropriate.**


I am opposed to the idea of ‘permission’ myself…after all, in a Catholic ceremony, the bride is not ‘given away’. A woman is not property, and she can make her own decisions.

However, I really like the idea of stating intentions or getting a blessing. That can be really sweet :slight_smile: My fiance didn’t do that, but that’s because we both live in another state from my parents.


It is a common tradition where I grew up. All of us young men knew that was what was expected and we did so. I asked my father and mother in law for their blessing to marry their daughter. There was nothing strange about that. I had butterflies in my stomach, but that’s to be expected.

In the past, it was “permission”, but now it is “blessing” as times have certainly changed.

I fully expect any young men to ask me for my blessing with my daughters to marry them. Although, living in the Midwest I’m not sure I’ll get that. It’s a sign of respect to the parents who bore and raised the young lady.




So, do some of you think that the young lady should ask her future-in-laws for a blessing also? Shouldn’t the respect be shown to both sets of parents? After all, if you are a woman getting a wonderful, religious, polite gentleman then his parents surely had a hand in who he is. Wouldn’t asking for their blessings be appropriate?:slight_smile:


I agree with the above poster…My dh and I are raising our son this way as well–but, a woman doesn’t have greater worth than a man…she doesn’t deserve greater respect than a man. I have a boy and a girl we are raising, and so I see it from both sides. I think if I had just girls, I’d think differently–but my son’s value is just as important as my daughter’s…and I would hope that a young woman who chooses to marry my son someday, also expresses some type of respect (not asking permission) to my husband and me. To show her intentions. I also am hopeful of this with our daughter as well. But, we are also teaching her the importance of being respectful to future inlaws, etc…it is a two way street–marriage. So, I believe that my son’s value is equal to the value of the woman he plans to marry, and therefore, she should also be considerate of my husband’s and my feelings.:slight_smile: Just my opinion.


**I think that depends on the couple…

if they are traditional then the man would be surprising the woman with a marriage proposal so she wouldn’t be able to go to his parents ahead of time. But of course in either case it would be wonderful for her to express her appreciation to the people who helped shape her hubby to be into the wonderful man she will marry. Some women do that at the time of the engagement.**

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