So you’ve found the love of your life, scoped out some rings, and are busy planning the perfect proposal. Well done; these are no mean feats. One thing that has to be playing on your mind is whether or not to ask for your future father (or mother)-in-law’s blessing before taking the leap of faith. It’s a time-honoured tradition that most people (at least in my circle) are still doing. But is asking your father-in-law’s permission really necessary in the 21st century? Would his answer change your decision? Highly unlikely. So why do people still do it? Let’s take a look at both sides.
Image by Tom Fire
Asking For ‘Permission’
Let’s face it, the whole institution of marriage is pretty traditional, and if you’re exchanging rings, getting married at the local church and your fiance’s father is going to be walking her down the aisle, then asking for your father-in-law’s blessing is par for the course.
Asking for a blessing from your in-laws is a simple gesture (albeit a nerve-racking one) that shows you respect and honour your future wife’s family and want to build a good relationship with them. In-laws can make your life as difficult or as easy as they like, so if this helps smooth the process from the beginning, then why not?
Plus let’s be honest, most fathers would appreciate the gesture. It also helps your in-laws feel included in the process, which is always a good thing.
It might be a quaint tradition, but it can go a long way in cementing your standing with the in-laws. Which you’ve just signed up to, forever, by the way.
‘Going It’ Alone
The very idea of asking your girlfriend’s father for his permission – blessing sounds better – goes way back to when women were treated as property and handed over from one man who could provide for her to another. Some think it’s all rather outdated now, and there are plenty of women who would be mortified at the thought of their boyfriends asking Dad for the thumbs up.
Stating your intention is a little different to asking for the all clear, but there’s still no reason for anyone to know until you’ve proposed, popped a bottle of champagne and started making those excited phone calls.
You and your partner are adults, can make your own decisions and don’t need blessings, permission, justification or approval from anyone.
I don’t know which side comes out on top here – there are pros and cons for both – but at the end of the day it comes down to your own situation and what your in-laws are like. Most people know where they stand, so if there’s a chance her Dad will say no, not many would bother having that chat. Most importantly, think about what your future wife wants. Maybe she’s already told you. Maybe she’s commented on what others have done. In any case, this all comes down to her, so remember this before booking a table for dinner with her Dad and practicing your lines in the mirror!
Ms Chinoiserie Says: To ask – or not to ask? That is the question!!! Whatever you decide, make sure it shows respect for your partner – and her family.