When it comes time to pop the question, there arises a debate on whether you need to get permission from your girlfriend’s (or boyfriend’s) family. This debate could carry on in several different directions because the simplest answer is: it depends.
There are essentially three types of situations that your future spouse may be in. The first, she is remarkably traditional, and family is important to her. The second, she believes in family and loves her family, but feels a sense of independence and longs to be on her own. Last of all, she may not have a relationship at all with her family or just doesn’t value family members’ opinions. Whatever the situation may be, we will guide you through it all so that when you are on bended knee, you will know you left no stone unturned.
The Cohesive Family
If you find yourself spending a great deal of time with your soon-to-be spouse’s family, calling your future in-laws by their first names, and spending late nights at their house, then it’s probably safe to say that there is a cherished relationship there. It might not be appropriate for you to skip out on asking permission in this circumstance.
Your future spouse likely relies heavily on the opinion of her family. What they think of you will affect your relationship greatly. It’s important that they approve of you. We suggest participating in a number of various activities with them. This will allow you to be in many varied settings with them so that they can see all sides of you. It’s important to build a secure foundation with your future in-laws and time is the best way to begin that groundwork. When it comes time to ask for their blessings, the answer should come pretty naturally to them without hesitation.
But, the question remains: whose permission do you need in this scenario? Again, the answer is not so simply put: it depends. Traditionally, the father is generally the go-to for permission, but you may feel the mother would love to be involved or should be involved in this conversation as well. It could be that the family is incredibly close, and it may be appropriate to ask the entire family for permission.
To ensure you are headed in the right direction, it is important to have this conversation with your significant other. It’s important to make those expectations clear so that there is no hesitation, confusion, or hurt feelings when you decided to pop the question.
The In-Between Family
Many people have favorable relationships with their families, but don’t necessarily view their opinions as essential. This type of familial relationship is common for people getting married in their 30’s or older. Of course, it can happen at any age, but is more common in adults who have established their own separate lifestyles independent of their families. These relationships occur not because there is any bad blood in the family, but rather because the family appreciates each member’s independence and freedom.
In this occasion, the decision to seek permission is in essence a 50/50 decision. If there is zero dependence on the opinion of your future companion’s family, then it probably isn’t necessary to seek out their blessing of the marriage. However, it is appropriate to inform the family beforehand of your intentions. Again, to make sure you are meeting the expectations of your soon-to-be partner, it is imperative that you both communicate through this sensitive topic — particularly in this situation, where it is a 50/50 on whether seeking out the blessing is required.
The Independent Family
If you’ve never met your future family before, then it’s likely that there isn’t a tight relationship present. It could be that there has been some past tension in the family or just simply that everyone has decided to go their separate ways. Whatever the family’s background may be, it is highly likely that your prospective spouse does not rely whatsoever on the opinion of her family members. Because your girlfriend has probably created a life that she can call her own without the input of her family, it could be offensive to her if you seek out her family’s permission.
In this circumstance, it could be misconstrued as demeaning or undermining to inform the family of your intentions before informing your soon-to-be spouse. It’s likely that no conversation needs to happen regarding the family’s blessing in this situation. You will probably already have a fairly in-depth background of the family situation by the time you are about to get on one knee. However, communication is key, so it certainly couldn’t hurt to inquire about expectations in this scenario as well.
There certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to seeking a blessing for a marriage proposal, but these scenarios that we’ve discussed should cover all of your bases. Of course, there are always exceptions to every situation. Perhaps, your future spouse lost her father, but treats a close uncle as a father figure. That uncle would likely be the person to ask for his blessing.
The bottom line is, it’s important to express clear expectations and asking all the right questions before popping the question. You want to make sure that when you get down on one knee, it is easy for her to give you the answer you are looking for. With all of those expectations expressed and met, we can assure you that you will receive a resounding “YES!”