'Asking' a Woman's Dad for Her Hand in Marriage Is Just Plain Outdated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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fleur... fleurdelys3110

I agree Sasha! I hope that my boyfriend, if and when he decides to propose, will go and tell my father first. TELL him NOT ASK him. For the ceremony, I will not have the officiant ask "who gives this woman to this man?" Both my parents will walk me down and the aisle and drop me at the altar without saying anything. I will also make sure the officiant doesn't say "I now pronounce you man and wife". That to me is incredibly degrading -- the man gets to remain a man after marriage but the woman is just a "wife"? "Husband and wife is more appropriate and modern. Although I am quite a few years away form getting married, you can tell that I've given every detail a lot of thought haha

purpl... purpleflower514

It is up to each couple of decide that and there is no right or wrong about it.

nonmember avatar Anowscara

My husband didn't, but my sisters' fiancés both asked for my parents' blessing before proposing, which I thought was a nice way of keeping tradition without making it a parent's permission. (Both were definitely given. They are great guys!)

nonmember avatar Jennifer

THANK YOU. I would find it sweet if a man asked my parents for their blessing or support. I would find it INSULTING if he asked for their permission. No one is "giving me away" at a wedding either.

bills... billsfan1104

I think it's romantic.

JessL... JessLogansMommy

My husband did ask my father.  I was young at the time and still in college, i don't know if he had said no or not right now if my husband would have listened.  On a side note, my husband told my mother after speaking with my father and she said no.  He told her, I wasn't asking you I was telling you, I already asked.  

BubbsJNL BubbsJNL

My ex asked my father and it was sweet for everyone.  Shortly afterward, I'm told my father quietly went upstairs and mom waited a bit and then went up to check on him.  She found him, head in hand, sitting on the edge of the bed.  When he heard her come in, all he said was, "Did I handle that the right way?  I had NO IDEA that there was still a possibility that could happen!"  He was so worried that he wasn't effusive enough or enthusiastic enough.


If it ever happened again, the gentleman would have to speak with the kids, first.  I'm my own person and he wouldn't get that far without having spoken to me, first, but I think there's something to be said for feeling strongly enough about someone  to have the courage to talk to their nearest and dearest about your intentions in that way.

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

We were young... and we had talked about marriage, but I told my now husband that if he was REALLY serious about asking me, he'd talk to my dad first. It was a sign of respect and he asked for his blessings, not for permission. We would have gotten married no matter what my parents thought, but it was kind and impressed my dad as well.


Maybe we're looking at this wrong- maybe a heads up or a special sit-down is one thing, permission is another. I am free to make my choice, but it is nice to have the man I love include my family in something so important to all our lives.

LexRamp LexRamp

I am from the south and it is custom. I love the fact that my husband asked my free for my hand in marriage. I think it is sweet and my daughters some day fiancées better ask my husband one day!

B1Bomber B1Bomber

The word degrading is thrown around way too easily. A man asking for a father's permission/blessing/whatever is attempting to be respectful to tradition and to his future wife's family - and by extension, to his future wife. There is nothing degrading about respect.


My husband asked for my parents' permission, and at our wedding, my dad answered "who gives this woman..." with "Her mother and I do." It's symbolic of transferring from one family to another and I don't understand how anyone could be offended by someone else's choice to include it in their own relationship.

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