'Asking' a Woman's Dad for Her Hand in Marriage Is Just Plain Outdated

dad's permission to marryWhen it comes to marriage, there is no one-size-fits-all kind of approach. What works for one couple may not work for another and that's fine. But certain traditions have long since seen their point of expiration and the whole "asking for her hand in marriage" is one of them.

Just to be clear: A man TELLING the parents of his love that he is going to propose and just letting them know is one thing. But actually getting permission and asking if it's OK to ask is another.

It's 2012, people. Let's get past the notion that a woman's father owns her. No one is expecting a dowry of two goats and a sheep, so why are some women still clinging to this antiquated notion that their dad still must give permission to any man wishing to purchase her. It's gross and offensive and had my husband done anything of the sort, I am sure my dad would have said no. After all, "you must not know my daughter if you are asking me this."


I am an independent person who does tend to make my own rules and roll my eyes at certain traditions. But I got engaged young (24) and liked the notion of being with one man for the rest of my life, hard as that can be. But I don't like the tradition of treating me like property. Even now, after 10 years of marriage, I belong to myself. Period.

So why do some women still love this idea?

I asked around and received varied answers. There is the element of "respect" that it encompasses. Many women are just more traditional and like this idea and all the years it has been the practice. Some women feel it's a nod to the close relationship they have with their family and that it shows their future husband will continue that. These are all compelling reasons. And yet, I still find it offensive.

My husband and I made the decision to marry together. A few weeks later, he did a big, elaborate scavenger hunt for me to find the ring, but I knew the ring was coming. We were grownups who wanted to be life partners and do things together and respect one another for the rest of our lives.

He did actually write a letter to my parents describing how much he loved me and why. It was a romantic gesture and meant a lot to both them and to me. But it wasn't necessary and in no way was he asking for permission. The only permission to marry me should come from me. I decide who I marry and when. After all, it is MY life. Not my dad's.

It's possible that I just have a different relationship with my dad than other women. I love him. I am close to him. He has been there for me and has always been a decent dad. But I don't hero worship him and he doesn't own me any more than I own him. For my husband to ask for his permission to marry me would have been offensive to both of us.

Some traditions are great. Others need to go. This is the latter kind.

What do you think of "asking for her hand" in marriage?


Read More >