Asking for a father’s permission to marry your SO might seem like an outdated notion to some people, but it is a tradition that is still very much expected in some cultures, and even in some families. So how do you find out if it’s something you’re supposed to do without blowing the surprise? Here are some steps you should take to get the ball rolling.
To be on the safe side, it’s important to have a good understanding of what your future fiance’s family is like. If they seem like a very traditional, you can probably assume they will appreciate you asking permission before proposing. However, if they seem more laid-back, it might come off a little weird. You should also consider what your SO’s relationship is like with their parents. If they aren’t very close, then your SO might feel insulted that you felt their parents had any say in the matter.
If you get the feeling that asking for permission is the way to go, make sure you and your future fiance are on the same page with marriage. See if it’s even something they want. It could be very awkward to have your future father-in-laws’s blessing, only to find out later they aren’t interested in marriage in the near future, or ever.
Get to Know Father First
You should always get to know your partner’s parents once things get serious between the two of you—and definitely well in advance before asking for the father’s permission. It’s not a good idea to ask him the first time you meet, because he won’t know you well enough to give you a proper answer. Having a relationship already will make it easier for you to talk to him about marrying his child.
Plan It Out
Once you’ve figured out that yes, your partner is interested in marriage, and yes, their parents are the type to expect a traditional proposal and you know them well enough to be comfortable around them, then you can start planning out how you’re going to ask. The best approach would be to invite him out somewhere so the two of you can speak privately. In the end, how, when, and where you ask him will depend on your relationship with him and what makes sense.
Regardless of how well you know each other, make sure you go out to a place where the two of you will feel comfortable. That might be at his place or it could be out at a restaurant or a cafe. Choose somewhere you can sit down together and relax for a bit before asking him for permission. Whatever you decide, just don’t invite him over to your place when you do choose to ask him. It should be on his property or at least on neutral ground.
Express Yourself Openly and Honestly
When the time is right, make sure to be honest when you express your feelings for your significant other. This is his baby, and he will want to know that whomever marries them will love and care for them as he has. Explain to him how much your girlfriend or boyfriend means to you and why, but keep out anything that might make him uncomfortable. And don’t be afraid to talk about what an amazing job he has done in raising them too.
Choosing to marry someone is a big deal. You probably have very good reasons as to why you want to marry your partner, and this is the opportune time to talk about these things out loud. What makes them special? What makes your relationship great? And of course, what will you do to ensure they have a happy life with you?
Be Understanding and Respectful
It’s not easy for a parent to watch their child grow up. It might not be easy for him to think about his child getting married. This is the baby that he has raised, and he wants to know they are going to have a happy, healthy and successful life. When asking for his permission, be understanding of what you’re actually asking him.
And no matter what happens, always be respectful. He might have questions for you at this point, and you should do your best to answer them openly and honestly. Try not to get offended at any point, if the conversation turns south.
After all that, you’re finally able to ask him the actual question: does he give you permission (or his blessing) to marry his child? Hopefully at this point the answer is a yes! You can remind them to keep it a secret at this point as well.
If it’s a no, or there’s a pause, don’t be afraid to find out why. It might be a misunderstanding you can clear up if you talk about it.
Hopefully you are successful so you can move forward with the hard part: planning out the actual proposal!