How to Ask for a Parent’s Blessing Before Popping the Question

A young man asking the parents of his girlfriend for their blessing on their marriage.

One of the most nerve-racking engagement customs is the tradition of the person planning on proposing to ask their partner’s parents for a blessing before the actual engagement. This can feel like a high pressure, high stakes situation that could make even the most confident person filled to the brim with nerves. If you’re considering asking your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s parents for a blessing on your impending marriage, make sure you follow these tips and you’ll be on the path to a great conversation with the people who will hopefully be your future in-laws!

Communicate with Your Partner Beforehand

Although you may not want to blatantly ask your partner if they’d like you to speak with their parents before proposing (although you totally can!), it’s a good idea to broach the topic in some way. This can even be just a simple question like, “What do you think about this tradition?” when a proposal scene comes up in a movie you’re watching together. It’s possible that your fiance-to-be may have strong feelings on the topic one way or the other, and it’s important to know their wishes before moving forward with such a delicate conversation. This would also be a good time to see if your partner has preferences on which parents to include in the conversation, or whom to speak with first—especially if their parents are divorced and they may have two sets of parental figures.

Schedule a Time to Talk

A man talking to an older man on a couch in a living room with coffee.

This important conversation should happen in person, if at all possible. If you’re truly unable to do it in person because of location differences, then do at least make a phone call. An email or text message would be completely inappropriate for a conversation with this much gravitas and would certainly not present you in the best light. And do schedule the talk ahead of time—this extra step will show that you’re truly serious and understand the gravity of the subject matter at hand, and will likely put confidence in the parents’ minds about your character and planning. Definitely don’t just drop by unannounced to have this conversation. Even if you just call an hour beforehand, if you must, this gives them a little time to prepare to chat with you, and it also shows that you’re not making this engagement decision totally on a whim.

Approach the Topic with Confidence

This is a serious question you’re about to ask your partner, so make sure you arrive to the conversation with confidence and excitement. And, of course, come ready to gush about your love! Be prepared to speak to their parents by coming in with some talking points in mind about what you love about their child, why you think you two are a great match, and what marriage in general means to you. Don’t forget that they raised this person and, like all parents, love to hear good things about their child. Be sure to give them lots to be happy about! Also, be ready to answer questions. Unsurprisingly, parents often have concerns and questions as their child moves on to this next phase of life.

Be Ready to Answer Them

An older and younger man having a glass of wine together.

Do not take any questions they may have as an insult to you or your ability to be a great spouse. Just remember how much they also love and care about your partner and want what’s best for them. These questions are a reflection of that. Respond with confidence, truth, and respect at all times. When possible, give answers that will calm any concerns they may have.

Always Remain Respectful and Positive

Remember, having this conversation to begin with is a gesture of respect and kindness towards the parents. You and your partner are both adults and will be able to make the decision to wed even if your future in-laws oppose it, so keep the conversation respectful and positive the whole time. It’s also a good idea to word your request as an ask for a blessing rather than permission. Even if they say “no,” be sure to keep your tone as polite as possible and remember that this conversation and the way you approach it will stick in the memories of your future fiance’s parents, so you want it to be a kind and compassionate one, no matter how it goes.

Include Them in Your Proposal Plans

Once the tough part is out of the way, feel free to include the parents in your proposal plans! Do you have the ring? Show them! Do you have a date for the proposal in mind? Let them in on it! This has the potential to be a fun way for you to bond with them, as well as to get them excited about the prospect of your engagement. If there are elements of surprise involved, do be sure to make that clear to them so they don’t accidentally spoil any surprises, but including them in the plans can help get this new phase of your relationship off to a good start! Keeping these things in mind as you go into this important conversation will help keep you confident and hopefully make your partner’s parents more than happy to give their blessing for your engagement and future marriage!

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