Asking the parents for their blessing to marry, yay or nay?

posted 8 months ago in Engagement
Post # 106
858 posts
Busy bee

widget01 :  If letting the parents in on the engagement somehow binds a woman to her husband as property, why get married to someone who sees her as property? At this point, a misogynist asking for your hand in marriage is the least of your problems. A male who supports feminism can also ask for a woman’s hand. Find a man who identifies as a feminist, and you’re safe from a misogynistic marriage. 

Post # 107
530 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

I get kinda confused about this “blessing” thing because if you’re at the stage where you’re ready to marry, don’t you already know what the parents think of you? Like whether they like you or not? Don’t you know by know if they’d be happy or not about a marriage happening? My parents love my husband and loved him with me and were happy I finally found a good guy after so long. I feel like if he’d asked for their “blessing” it’d be like duh! I can see if you want to give a heads up like hey I’m proposing tomorrow or something like that. But genuinely don’t understand the blessing as you should know by now whether you have it or not. Is it hearing the actual words that’s needed? Ir is it just the same “asking permission” tradition with a word substitution? I genuinely am asking because logic would say that your parents are quite aware it’s coming sometime if you’re close to them at all and I’m sure you know that they do in fact approve. So why the blessing vs just a heads up? And if you truly don’t know what they’d say, how would you proceed if the parents said no? 

Post # 108
23 posts
  • Wedding: March 2015

bakerbee09 :  my husband spoke to both of my parents separately (they are divorced) before he proposed and it annoys me. I wish he hadn’t. He didn’t ask his parents’ permission/blessing before he proposed why is he a separate entity that can make the decision for himself but I need mummy and daddy’s permissions?

Post # 109
2868 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

pampoovey :  Exactly this – why would only a man ask for a blessing if it was not based on an antiquated idea.

Post # 110
812 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

nikkiv1313 :  In addition to the historical connotations of ownership, I’ve also read about the coincident timing between the increasing popularity of the diamond engagement ring in the U.S. and the repealing of the “Breach of Promise to Marry” law (which allowed a woman to sue a man for breaking an engagement). Some have surmised that the diamond engagement ring gained popularity in part because it was seen as collateral in place of the previous legal protection for engaged women. Which from the modern perspective is kind of ironic given the depreciation rates of engagement rings.

For me it came down to autonomy for both parties, not just me. I personally don’t care one way or another about involving parents in the proposal process. But my SO had wanted to share his intention to propose with my parents (and his as well since he had already told them when he had the ring), and I wasn’t going to dictate how he should feel about it. I wasn’t going to tell him that he was not allowed to visit my parents because it’s sexist while still accepting a proposal and a ring from him. I don’t see how I could have demanded an introspection on the sexist connotations of his plan without engaging in similar introspection on all of the traditions I was willing to take part in.

Post # 111
372 posts
Helper bee

Everyone keeps asking why the man asks for permission and the woman doesn’t have to. It’s mainly because the man does the asking! Which too, is an antiquated idea. If the woman were to do the asking more, then there would be a reason for her to get the blessing from his parents. 

I don’t have a feeling either way about it. My husband never asked/told my parents, we lived together, they knew it was coming. But had he mentioned it to them (that he was going to ask me) before he did, I wouldn’t think it was weird or antiquated. I don’t think anyone should be ASKING for permission, but to include parents in the event, his or mine, would not have been a bad thing. 

I just think if you’re going to be offended by one old fashioned idea (man getting blessings) then you should be just as offended by the one that necessitates it (man proposing). If you really want things to be fair and unsexist.

Post # 112
659 posts
Busy bee

My brother asked his fiance’s father beforehand. It was his preference and he did it on his own and out of respect to her father. He’s a little old fashioned that way even though he was only 25 at the time 🙂

I think it’s sweet, but not necessary though.

Post # 113
1213 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

FH called my parents to inform them of his plan to propose, out of respect. But he wasn’t looking for their permission or input.

Post # 114
2411 posts
Buzzing bee

FWIW, most of the people in our social circle didn’t have traditional surprise proposals.  Getting engaged is generally a mutual decision. Like you’ve been dating for a few years and living together for 18 months and you’ve talked about moving towards marriage and one day over take-out food you decide you’re ready to get engaged and make plans to go ring shopping that weekend and set a date.   So the idea that one partner (the man, for most users of this website) has to ask for permission/blessing because he is the one proposing doesn’t really hold up in my circle.

So that may be part of why I really struggle to understand the idea of asking dad/the parents for permission/blessing is seen as respectful.

It’s also pretty common amongst my circle for both people to get a ring, or a ring and a watch, or a ring and some sort of expensive engagement gift, as well as for the ring to be a shared expense.  

Post # 115
2357 posts
Buzzing bee

I really dont understand people getting their knickers in a knot over the man asking or having a conversation with their parents or parent. Yet they lose their damn minds if the proposal wasn’t a fairy tale one or if the ring isn’t big enough or if the wedding isn’t going as planned. The things mentioned above are all old fashioned. 

If we are truly honest with ourselves we wouldn’t get married since marriage itself is terribly old fashioned and women were nothing more than chattel. 

Post # 116
174 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Oh my gosh the amount of disdain on this post is ridiculous. I am a strong, independent woman who makes my own money and I am not owned by my husband or my dad. But, I am a traditional romantic as is my family so of course my husband spoke to my dad first. It is something my dad has always wanted and I wanted to respect that, so when we were dating I told my husband it was something he needed to do. My sister passed and my parents only have the chance to go to one daughter’s wedding when they had two, so these traditions are important to them. My dad cried he was so happy! And it was NOT to ask for permission, as we were already moved out and living together, but it is just out of respect for my parents that he will be making a huge step with their daughter. More of a respectful blessing and for sure not permission. 

cherry3b :  needmorewine :  How could I have asked his parents before we were engaged when I didn’t know he was going to propose? And for the record, he did tell his family. His mom and sister were involved in the proposal since they work at Disney and let us in for the day. It honestly would have been very insulting to me if his mom and sisters knew when my own parents didn’t. 

Edit – to those of you saying no freaking way, did your father walk you down the aisle? Because I feel like if you say gross to one you have to say gross to the other. 

Post # 117
6589 posts
Bee Keeper

temeculabride :  Edit – to those of you saying no freaking way, did your father walk you down the aisle? Because I feel like if you say gross to one you have to say gross to the other. 

No, I walked myself down the aisle. Actually my husband met me half way, and we walked the last half up together.

Post # 118
174 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: City, State

jellybellynelly :  Okay I  think that’s sweet and makes sense in some cases. My parents are traditional and my father would have been utterly devastated if he wasn’t able to walk me down the aisle. To me, a wedding is a family affair. I was marrying into his family and he was marrying into mine, which meant respecting both of our families traditions and wishes. I am a strong willed woman but I would never be okay breaking my dad’s heart to prove a point. Family trumps all to me!  

Post # 119
994 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

I think both partners just need to be in agreement on whether your parents will be asked or not.

My hubby asked my mom, sister, and brother – not because he needed their permission, but because he wanted their blessing…. he also wanted to let them in on the secret he was planning 🙂 I thought it was sweet. If I had made it clear that I hated that tradition, he wouldn’t have done it.

Post # 120
545 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

ETA: Since none of you can see me, this was actually written very calmly (like I’m eating tacos and chilling here–so no rage) and more frankly than an in-person conversation would go. If we were chatting in real life and you were all my friends and were planning something traditional, I might say something but would ultimately choose to respect your decision to live life differently. But due to the nature of an online forum, I feel like it is okay to be direct about things. 🙂

temeculabride :  I told myself I wouldn’t wade back into this but, since you asked…

Are proposals truly a surprise though? There are tons of conversations that lead up to it. So, yes, there’s generally time for both sets of parents to be consulted. 

And yes, I did forgo most wedding traditions that have sexist roots. I did not have my father walk me down the aisle. My husband and I walked together. I was not pronounced “man and wife,” I did not have a garter, my husband was not told he could kiss the bride, I didn’t wear a veil. The only “traditional” things we did was have an engagement ring and proposal (which was because my husband wanted it. I told him I was actually opposed to engagement rings). I asked him if he wanted something similar and he didn’t. And I wore a white dress. Why? Because it was my one chance to wear a lacey white dress. Did I feel a little icky about it due to its connotations with purity? Yes. So maybe I am a hypocrite. But I did not get fussy about a ring or a large wedding or act like how people have tried to say folks like me behave. We all end up making concessions or compromises, that doesn’t make us hypocrites if we are genuinely pushing and working for equality.

VictorianChick :  I really don’t understand people getting their knickers in a knot over the man asking or having a conversation with their parents or parent. Yet they lose their damn minds if the proposal wasn’t a fairy tale one or if the ring isn’t big enough or if the wedding isn’t going as planned. The things mentioned above are all old fashioned. 

If we are truly honest with ourselves we wouldn’t get married since marriage itself is terribly old fashioned and women were nothing more than chattel. 

This is so over-the-top and ridiculous (and I am only responding to you because you are the most recent person to post something along these lines). In my experience, it’s the women who are insistent about their boyfriends asking their parents who get upset about the ring not being big enough. Most of us who forgo the sexist traditions have also rejected the fairytale myth and, in my experience, have been more chill about the whole process. Furthermore, the institution of marriage and women being chattel are a false comparison. Every society in history has had some form of marriage because it serves societal benefits. It’s not about things being traditional or old fashioned. It’s about rejecting ideas that are patriarchal and sexist in nature. Marriage is about love and a formal commitment to each other. That doesn’t have to be sexist. But how you go about it very much can be.

To everyone, here’s the thing, traditions are coded as romantic to help us swallow the pill of how problematic they are if you probe them. But we accept them because we are told the romance lie. We find it comforting to know the roles and expectations and so it is uncomfortable when it shifts. This isn’t some feminist BS designed to ruin everyone’s fun. At the end of the day, gender equality is made up of more than just legal stuff and household chores. It’s all these little things that factor into perceptions and social constructs about how we see the world. So you know why those of us who find it offensive find it just so darn offensive? Because it perpetuates sexist ideas that still permeate our society. We aren’t out to ruin your fun. We want true equality. And that means rejecting things that have often been held dear or treated as romantic. Yes, feminism is about the right to choose. But it is also about rejecting internalized misogyny. The two can coexist but they can also conflict. If more women asked for her husband’s parents blessing, I would see this as a non-issue. But at the end of the day, they don’t. So to me, this seems like it’s not truly an option for this to be fair. So I think we should forgo it in order to work toward a more equitable society. 

What I don’t understand is how anyone can see it as respectful. I am sincerely asking. More than just “my dad would like it” or “our families are joining” because that doesn’t land or make sense to me. How is it respectful to involve the parents of one only party in a legal contract between two adults? 

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