ask for her hand in marriage.

9 Jul

It’s wedding season in America.  We’re in the three-month period where every airport is filled with young, doe-eyed couples who can’t wait to get to Sandals for, let’s just say, a lot of “mommy & daddy” time.  However, it’s also a time of year where many young men start realizing that if they want to be booking their own flights to Fiji next summer,  they better pop the question – soon.  Breath deep fella, it’ll be okay.

Grooms-to-be,  getting married is a great thing (assuming it’s to the right person).  And in the course of an engagement, you will take part in a million rituals, some of them formal (the engagement dinner) and some of them informal (pretending like you care about flowers).  But one of them, in my mind, is the most important ritual of all and it’s the first one you’ll encounter – asking for permission to marry your lady-friend.

Here’s why this practice can’t be lost.  Men are, by default, predatory.  It’s in our nature and it’s a good thing.  We use this instinct to push ourselves to do well in our jobs, to ask women out, and to refine ourselves to be better men.  The downside is that women, who are every bit as smart as men (actually much smarter) can get duped by us.  Now, I’m not being disparaging of women – it’s quite the opposite.  Men just have a way of presenting an amazing image for a long time in order to win the girl.  We know it’s true, don’t we?  When we’re trying to date a women, we’ll buy flowers and make mix tapes (I’m keepin’ it real) every freakin’ day.  But very often, once we realize we’ve hooked them, the flowers stop and the Memorex goes mute.

The reason we ask for her hand is marriage is because you can’t kid a kidder.  When you’re sitting across the table from a woman’s father, he knows you, he knows your tricks, and he’s been you.  Asking for a hand in marriage is the ultimate litmus test of predator vs. good man,  worthy of my daughter vs. worthy of my Remington, husband vs. con-man.

Thus far, the reasoning for asking for her hand has been focused on the negative.  In all reality though, this lost form of etiquette is usually an incredibly positive move.  For the most part, by the time you get around to asking, everyone knows you’re going to do it.  Typically, everyone likes you and this conversation usually is just you being classy and them feeling valued.  Truly, 99% of the time, this is going to be a great memory for you and her family.

Before we finish and go about our weekend, let’s address one more point.  Dads aren’t as prevalent as they used to be. Sadly, a lot of the wonderful women we’ll get to marry don’t have a dad to ask.  Here’s my advice:  Over the course of getting to know your bride-to-be, you’ll get a sense for the most influential person(s) in her life.  When it’s time to ask, ask those people.  It doesn’t have to be a dad, in fact, if she does have an awesome dad, I’d consider including her mom and/or most treasured friends in on this conversation.  Why?  Why not.  While you don’t want to ruin all the fun of her making the “I’m engaged” calls, you do want to make sure that you have all your bases covered and that the people who she treasures most are on-board with you.  Again, it’s just what a classy, Grown Man does.

And fellas, when you do get up the courage to ask for her hand in marriage, don’t be a turd about it.  Make eye-contact, tell them how much you care for her, don’t be afraid to show emotion, and say, “With your permission, I’d like to propose to [girl who’s about to book tickets to Fiji].”

Go forth and multiply.

13 Responses to “ask for her hand in marriage.”

  1. pbandchutney 9 July 2010 at 10:39 am #

    great advice my friend. enjoy the weekend!

  2. Bonnie 9 July 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    I so agree that ‘asking permission’ is such an important part of a proposal for marriage. I believe this will give a gentle but steady tug on the romantic heartstrings of most women – I know it did me. Awesome blog!!

    • You're a Grown Man 9 July 2010 at 4:37 pm #

      Thank you, Bonnie! I really am glad you like the blog. Thank you very much for commenting….have a lovely weekend.

  3. kate 9 July 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    i’m sorry grown man, but i have to disagree that everyone should do it. i’d say it depends on your girl! i know i’d be horrified (may be too strong a word) if my bf asked my family for permission to propose before asking *me*! but i also would be horrified if he got down on one knee. so while i generally support chivalry, manners, and all things etiquette, seeking the approval of one’s future father-in-law (or other significant family member) is not something i can get behind personally! just IMHO, FWIW. 🙂

    • You're a Grown Man 9 July 2010 at 4:45 pm #

      First things first, you NEVER need to apologize to me for disagreeing. It is always a possibility that I’m off base and appreciate it when readers tell me so.

      Second, a lot of what is written about on this blog is good advice for the masses, but sometimes needs to be altered for the specifics. At the end of the day, you need to be honored. If you’re dead set on not having anyone clear the way for your boyfriend to propose, than that’s what must be. While I still contend that asking permission is a great move, it must not be at the detriment of your comfort.

      Finally, I had to look up what IMHO and FWIW meant – well done. LYLAS

  4. lookingforsomethingtofind 9 July 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    Good advice, much better than the jubmo-tron at a baseball game.

  5. Moroccomama 10 July 2010 at 3:43 am #

    I remember the day my beloved came to our house to ask for my hand in marriage. He was just shining, and it was romantic and grown-manly at the same time. It certainly made my parents feel valued, like you say. And it got things off to a good start all around. (our 10 year anniversary is coming up!).

  6. eva3402 10 July 2010 at 8:58 am #

    I’m 32, so if it ever works out for me, asking permission would be even more of a formality than it is for a much younger woman. I would be OK with an “I seek your blessing to marry your daughter” conversation just after the proposal to honor my dad and because it seems that men find this type of permission/blessing conversations meaningful. A “blessing” might be a good approach as an alternative to “permission” in some situations.

    • Debbie 11 July 2010 at 5:53 pm #

      I like this article and agree with the point of it. I think Eva above makes a really good point in her comment. I like the idea of a “blessing” a lot more than “permission”. I think that way strikes a nice balance between the lovely sentiment of the act, and not offending a girl with a real strong independent streak. Not that I know anyone like that… eh hum cough cough 😉 🙂

  7. Pinaywriter 13 July 2010 at 9:26 am #

    In my family there are a lot of rituals actually. When a man wants to marry a women he needs to meet with his family in tow with the girl’s family. Most people go through the “pamamanhikan” which is where the man formally asks the girl’s family that he wants to marry her.This way the family not only gets the lowdown as to what his intentions are, they also help out in planning the wedding and deciding some stuff like the date so that most of the members of the family can attend. ^_^

    The official meeting of the two family is called “bulungan” which comes from the word “bulong” which means “to whisper”. I think it comes from the need to keep the details a bit hush-hush before making a formal declaration that the couple will get married.

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