'Asking' a Woman's Dad for Her Hand in Marriage Is Just Plain Outdated

Rant 64

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?




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Reepi... Reepicheep.CSL

You are a complete jerk. So because you don't like a tradition it is automatically offensive and should go? How about you don't participate and leave it at that. No one is forcing your husband to ask your dad for your hand, so why don't you afford the same respect to everyone else and stop trying to make traditional people feel bad for their decisions.

My dh did ask my dad for my hand, my dad gave his permission and then my dh asked me. It wasn't something we discussed in detail and I was surprised, which is just how I wanted it to be. Btw, I would never marry a man who didn't respect my family or myself enough to ask my father for my hand. That just happens to be how my family is.

So save your derogatory comments because the world is not filled with clones of you.

cymkare cymkare

My husband asked my father and I encouraged him, too. I think it is a sweet tradition and love the idea. This is probably just a to each her own type of thing.

dearg76 dearg76

You must be from the North. I'm Southern and this is what you do. My husband and my sisters husband both asked our father for his permission. It is being respectful of the family you are marrying into and frankly if your husband/boyfriend doesn't have the balls to stand up and ask for your hand maybe he isn't worthy!

I am an independent free thinking person and never have I considered myself someone else's property. The fact that you point this out in your article makes me think you have issues in that area. I feel sorry for you. I am part of a great team with my husband as the other person, we respect each other. 

Is respect really that bad of an idea?

TippyD TippyD

I am with LexRamp. We are from the south and it is tradition/respect for the man to speak with the father and ask permission. My husband spoke with both my bio-dad and my step dad and asked them both for permission to marry me. As well as the traditional "who gives this woman". it isnt a matter of "ownership" as much as respect, showing the woman leaving her mother and father and becoming one with her husband! it makes me sad when I see that people think of it as ownership. :/ I think I woul d have been offended if my husband hadnt spoke with my dads. *and he still hasnt shared what was said almost 9 years ago when he spoke with them!**sigh* 

nonmember avatar Lorna

My husband asked my father. We were together for 6 years when he proposed, and there was no question that my family loved my husband. For my parents (my dad especially), it was just about respect. He is old school, and appreciated the gesture a lot.

nonmember avatar Brandi

Well I would agree with you on most cases but in my case I told my fiance he had to ask my dad out of respect. my mother wasnt really apart of my life so him asking my dad permission ment alot to me. I wanted his blessing.. not to say that if he said no that I would say " okay daddy I wont" ... hell no I would still do it ...I just told my fiance that it was out of respect

nonmember avatar Mandy

I agree with the author. Frankly if my husband had asked for permission or even my parents blessing before asking me, I think my father would have thought less of him. My family believes in strong people and people going off and creating new families while still staying in contact with their family of origin. The only blessing or permission my husband needed was mine. My parents support my decisions. Frankly it would have been disrespectful to me for my husband to ask my parents permission or blessing as my opinion was enough for them.

nonmember avatar Frank

These days it's usually more a case of asking for the families blessing rather than permission & not really an issue of sovereignty. How about making an effort to get along? After all, nobody died and made you queen. With your attitude you're the kind of girl I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole, even while wearing a bubble suit. Condolences to your hubby.

Austin Keenan

The fact that the couple CHOOSES to follow this ritual means it's not really asking permission at all.     



Austin Keenan

I'm assuming the author didn't include her dad walking her down the isle and giving her hand to her fiance  as part of the ceremony?     That's really the same thing.

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