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Carolyn Hax on Asking for a Woman's Hand in Marriage


Rosie

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Dear Carolyn: When Dad is asked for adult daughter’s hand in marriage, does Dad just give his blessing or does Dad grill prospective groom?

Anonymous

I sincerely hope Dad says, “That’s entirely up to her.â€

There is nothing sweet about a “tradition†that has two men who are not her employers or parole officers negotiating the terms by which an adult woman will live. Stake, find the heart of this vampire, please.

...

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle ... story.html

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Read an etiquette book recently that pointed out, bluntly, that it is in bad taste for the groom to ask the brides father for her hand now a days.

Also recently read part of a wedding book for Delta weddings (Mississippi Delta) which clearly stated that one NEVER congratulates a Delta bride on her engagement. It is more fitting to congratulate the groom on his fine catch, and wish the bride much happiness. This same book suggested that you had one year to write thank you notes which caused me palpitations.

Ok, I have to stop reading peeking through these books before I put them on the shelves.

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Asking a bride's father for her hand in marriage may be in bad taste, but in many places in the Southern U.S., it is still very much expected.

A good friend of mine had to do this AND suffer through the grill treatment by his fiance's very conservative dad. He is an atheist and his wife is a liberal Christian. They go to church most Sundays to keep peace in the family. At least her dad said yes, I suppose. :roll:

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Asking a bride's father for her hand in marriage may be in bad taste, but in many places in the Southern U.S., it is still very much expected.

A good friend of mine had to do this AND suffer through the grill treatment by his fiance's very conservative dad. He is an atheist and his wife is a liberal Christian. They go to church most Sundays to keep peace in the family. At least her dad said yes, I suppose. :roll:

My father asked for my mother's hand wearing a morning suit for the occasion.....My grandfather asked him about being able to take financial care of his daughter and his financial prospects.

Even in that time it was rather conservative and slightly ridiculous. Nobody does that anymore, at least not in my neck of the woods.

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My dad told my now-husband that he had permission to marry me, but my husband never asked and, more importantly, it was a joke. Because, being an autonomous human being, I am not required to get permission from anyone with a penis in order to make major life decisions.

What I've heard is that you congratulate the groom, but you wish the bride good luck, because she'll need all the help she can get.... ;)

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I always heard you congratulate the groom because who'd have thought he'd ever get someone so wonderful, and wish the bride luck and happiness because she'll need the luck to be able to put up with his crap to find the happiness. People did this to me and my husband and we laughed. It goes with our sense of humor and was said by people who knew we'd get laugh.

Any man who asks for one of our daughters' hands and isn't just joking will be told to get the hell out of the house,and we'd advise the daughter against marrying someone who asked for her like property.

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I thought that asking for a daughter's hand in marriage is more of a sign of respect/courtesy to the parents these days, versus actual "asking for permission."

LOL - my dad already told me not to bother with having a guy ask him after I turned 35 but that's mostly because he's so anxious to see me gert married at this point.

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If my husband had done that, I think I would have told him NO! If I'm supposed to be his equal, it doesn't make sense for him to ask a third party if I can marry. I'm so glad that is one tradition that is going the way of the Dodo. Nothing romantic or cutely old fashioned about it.

True story, but my father did this - it was her second marriage, his third, both in their 40's. I thought it was nothing short of ridiculous for him to do that with a woman who was essentially a career driven woman...not that I think this marriage will last but that is a story for a different day.

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Although it does depend on the culture... my friend is Korean and although her family had been in the U.S. for over 15 years, her Caucasian boyfriend asked for her dad's permission out of respect for their culture. My friend was actually very pleased that he did that, and he definitely treats her as his equal.

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Read an etiquette book recently that pointed out, bluntly, that it is in bad taste for the groom to ask the brides father for her hand now a days.

Also recently read part of a wedding book for Delta weddings (Mississippi Delta) which clearly stated that one NEVER congratulates a Delta bride on her engagement. It is more fitting to congratulate the groom on his fine catch, and wish the bride much happiness. This same book suggested that you had one year to write thank you notes which caused me palpitations.

Ok, I have to stop reading peeking through these books before I put them on the shelves.

I can't understand why this would be a faux pas. I've always congratulated people who have announced their engagement. It's a big life change and, for the vast majority of people I'd imagine, an exciting and positive one.

Side note: My husband didn't ask for my hand some 15 years ago. In fact, I don't even think he'd met my parents until after we'd gotten engaged, but I could be mistaken. It's been a while. :D

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I thought that asking for a daughter's hand in marriage is more of a sign of respect/courtesy to the parents these days, versus actual "asking for permission."

I have heard this reason given also but it makes no sense because if you wanted to show the parents respect, why wouldn't the potential bride also ask the groom's parents?

The tradition is still alive and well in the south. The grilling by the dad is supposed to show that he cares for the daughter that it is assumed is his duty to protect...even if she lives outside his house and takes care of herself. Of course, the bride does not have to do the same thing to the groom's parents because it is a assumed that a man who has to ask his parents permission to marry isn't old enough to get married.

I have asked several friends what would happen if their father said no to the prospective groom and they all refuse to answer the question. First of all, if you respect your parents, you should be talking to them long before the marriage proposal and learned their opinion so there should be no need for your potential husband to ask the question. However, what if the dad says no? The few times that I have gotten an answer to this was that the couple would go ahead with the marriage anyway, proving that the tradition is actually pretty disrespectful to everyone involved.

By the way, I think that I am a minority among my friends in finding this a horrible tradition which is why I love this forum.

It seems more respectful of both sets of parents for the couple to sit down with each parent and explain their plans and listen like adults to their concerns.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/0 ... 65409.html

The above story is about a man asking a father for the daughter's hand in marriage and it shows why, here in the south, fighting the tradition is viewed in the same way as kicking puppies. I mean who could be against showing a good father respect? And no matter how logical that I think that I am, I have learned to just keep my opinion on the matter to myself but I am dreading the day some well meaning guy takes my husband aside. I have no idea how I will react.

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I have heard this reason given also but it makes no sense because if you wanted to show the parents respect, why wouldn't the potential bride also ask the groom's parents?

The tradition is still alive and well in the south. The grilling by the dad is supposed to show that he cares for the daughter that it is assumed is his duty to protect...even if she lives outside his house and takes care of herself. Of course, the bride does not have to do the same thing to the groom's parents because it is a assumed that a man who has to ask his parents permission to marry isn't old enough to get married.

I have asked several friends what would happen if their father said no to the prospective groom and they all refuse to answer the question. First of all, if you respect your parents, you should be talking to them long before the marriage proposal and learned their opinion so there should be no need for your potential husband to ask the question. However, what if the dad says no? The few times that I have gotten an answer to this was that the couple would go ahead with the marriage anyway, proving that the tradition is actually pretty disrespectful to everyone involved.

By the way, I think that I am a minority among my friends in finding this a horrible tradition which is why I love this forum.

It seems more respectful of both sets of parents for the couple to sit down with each parent and explain their plans and listen like adults to their concerns.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/0 ... 65409.html

The above story is about a man asking a father for the daughter's hand in marriage and it shows why, here in the south, fighting the tradition is viewed in the same way as kicking puppies. I mean who could be against showing a good father respect? And no matter how logical that I think that I am, I have learned to just keep my opinion on the matter to myself but I am dreading the day some well meaning guy takes my husband aside. I have no idea how I will react.

I admit I'm rather old-fashioned when it comes to stuff like this, even though I've lived on my own for over 15 years. My friends were shocked when my parents came to visit me (they live out of state) and I didn't have them meet my BF. We'd been dating 6 months but I thought it was way too soon and you didn't meet the other's parents until marriage was definitely on the horizon. They thought I was being way too old-fashioned - perhaps we should swap friends? LOL

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I don't think that you are being old fashioned but I also don't understand your rule about your boyfriend not meeting your parents until you are both ready to get engaged. I had never heard that rule. Where are from that not meeting the other person parents until you get engaged is a tradition? If you trust your parents' opinion, won't they be able to offer some insights into your relationship?

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My father, when Mr. Four approached him to ask for my hand in marriage, (It was my second marriage, and we were 32 years old, living in another state) said, "Boy, you'd better not let HER hear you asking for my permission. She'll kick your ass. It's her decision, and yours. But I will tell you this. You seem to love her and you're good to her, so you have my blessing. Good luck."....

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In light of the mysoginistic theology we talk about, i want to agree. However, among "normal" people, I don't see the harm in a man talking to the parents before he proposes. Mr. Jerkit took my parents to dinner and told them he planned to propose and asked for their blessing. It was a sweet gesture.

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I don't think that you are being old fashioned but I also don't understand your rule about your boyfriend not meeting your parents until you are both ready to get engaged. I had never heard that rule. Where are from that not meeting the other person parents until you get engaged is a tradition? If you trust your parents' opinion, won't they be able to offer some insights into your relationship?

I'm from northeast PA but like I said, most people I know think differently than I do so it's not really geographical, just my own quirk. The not meeting until you're considering marriage is more because my parents would automatically assume marriage if I had them meet someone. Did I mention they're really, really anxious to see me get married? LOL

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In light of the mysoginistic theology we talk about, i want to agree. However, among "normal" people, I don't see the harm in a man talking to the parents before he proposes. Mr. Jerkit took my parents to dinner and told them he planned to propose and asked for their blessing. It was a sweet gesture.

I can understand that if a man wants to surprise the woman with the proposal, he might let the parents know ahead of time. In that case, he isn't asking for permission but letting them know what he plans to do. Some people ask for a blessing as opposed to actual permission. I can understand asking for a blessing but I know a lot of couples where the prospective groom and the bride's husband go off by themselves to decide this on their own.

I honestly don't understand why both partners don't get together with both sets of parents and discuss the fact that they got engaged. Why is it somehow sweeter or more respectful for the groom to do this alone and just for the bride's father?

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I come from a region in Germany, where asking for someone's hand isn't even a thing. In my part of the world, the couple decides (proposals are not a thing), the parents will have met the prospective spouses long before any engagement announcement, and their parents. And if someone disagrees, let the fighting begin!

Just to add a little more cultural colour to the already culturally colourful debate. ;)

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I can understand that if a man wants to surprise the woman with the proposal, he might let the parents know ahead of time. In that case, he isn't asking for permission but letting them know what he plans to do. Some people ask for a blessing as opposed to actual permission. I can understand asking for a blessing but I know a lot of couples where the prospective groom and the bride's husband go off by themselves to decide this on their own.

I honestly don't understand why both partners don't get together with both sets of parents and discuss the fact that they got engaged. Why is it somehow sweeter or more respectful for the groom to do this alone and just for the bride's father?

Well, I think the groom would probably discuss it with his parents before he does it. Again, it's not asking for permission, it's just being family. And I think the bride's mother should definitely be included. I don't think it's like auctioning off her virginity or anything - just a sign of respect.

But like I said, if we're talking about fundies, I think it's completely different. It's a whole different mindset.

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I can understand that if a man wants to surprise the woman with the proposal, he might let the parents know ahead of time. In that case, he isn't asking for permission but letting them know what he plans to do. Some people ask for a blessing as opposed to actual permission. I can understand asking for a blessing but I know a lot of couples where the prospective groom and the bride's husband go off by themselves to decide this on their own.

I honestly don't understand why both partners don't get together with both sets of parents and discuss the fact that they got engaged. Why is it somehow sweeter or more respectful for the groom to do this alone and just for the bride's father?

Well, in my case, it was because my fundy parents were freaking out about the fact that I was marrying a nonfundy. I think his dad and my dad have met exactly once (our mothers are dead) -- at the courthouse when we said our vows.

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Surprisingly, I don't know of any prospective groom who actually asked her father before asking her. I would think I'd know tons of people who do this, having grown up as a Christian in the South, but nope. I hear a lot about proposal stories but cannot even think of one instance of the father being asked.

I guess my daughter is just SOL. No father or father figure to ask. No marriage for her!

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I asked my then fiance now husband if he was going to ask my father for my hand in marriage and he looked at me like I was absolutely crazy (I was joking BTW). He's African American and he explained that the tradition smacked too much of ownership- something that someone of his background has a very hard time with.

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I assumed most people asked for blessings now, which is an improvement on permission but I would have been mortified by either. In my case, we had talked about engagement for a while and our parents knew - in fact, they all knew about the proposal itself because my parents handed me the heirloom ring that was to become my engagement ring just before my now-husband and I went to the jeweler together to have it adjusted, and we became officially engaged after picking it up a few days later :lol:

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Well, I think the groom would probably discuss it with his parents before he does it. Again, it's not asking for permission, it's just being family. And I think the bride's mother should definitely be included. I don't think it's like auctioning off her virginity or anything - just a sign of respect.

But like I said, if we're talking about fundies, I think it's completely different. It's a whole different mindset.

I understand why a couple would take part in a tradition even if they might not agree with it just to make the future inlaws feel appreciated. It is one thing to have an intellectual disagreement with a tradition but it makes the marriage run smoother if the in laws are on the couple's side and that might mean asking for a blessing.

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When I got engaged, I absolutely refused to have Mr. No ask my dad for my hand. Some folks thought I was overreacting, that it was just a formality anyway, but considering my recent battles with my parents over leaving and realizing that they really didn't want me to live my own life, I knew that it was not a formality to them. To them, it was giving permission and I had no illusions that dad would grill the hell out of Mr. No partially in hopes that he would get his little girl back. Mr. No didn't want to do it and would have felt totally stupid anyway, he was asking me, not my dad. When me mum nudged me toward doing it saying "it would be nice for Mr. No to ask for your hand", my answer was "my hand is my own to give." End of story.

My sisters did have their husbands ask though both were over 30. One BIL was nearing 40 and felt absolutely ridiculous, but it was what my sister wanted.

ETA: Incidentally, if my folks had been less possessive and more accepting of my choices, chances are greater that I would have been OK with this practice, because it would be a formality, seen as a nice gesture. I get other people wanting to do that if it's for that reason or it's cultural, so I am not criticizing folks who do go this route. It's just that in my particular situation, I was not giving my Maxwellian parents anything that made it seem they actually were giving permission in the matter.

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