These days the majority of couples find themselves in the 'try before you buy' scenario. Most people live together to test out how the relationship survives under one roof before even contemplating the notion of marriage. Before the distant sound of wedding bells begin to chime, many couples have bought a house together or made other significant financial investments, and may even have a couple of kids together before making it official.
Given this is the state of play in 2016, are grooms-to-be still asking potential father-in-law's for their daughters' hand in marriage and if so, why?
Setting the scene
Asking your future father-in-law to marry his daughter is a way for many men to show respect and appreciation toward their bride's family and the role they have played in her life so far. Requesting permission can set the scene for a mutually rewarding relationship between yourselves as a couple and her extended family circle, (not to mention buying some serious brownie points with the in-laws!)
A modern day take on a time-honoured tradition
The tradition of asking for a bride's hand in marriage dates back to ancient Rome, where the prospective groom would ask the bride's father for permission to marry her by handing over a symbolic coin. If the bride's father approved of the union, he would take the hand of his daughter and place it in the groom's hand, as a sign that permission to marry was granted. These days, due to all the factors listed above, grooms may feel silly seeking permission, when the bride's father has probably not had much say in his daughter's actions for quite some time. Many men are choosing to seek blessing for their intentions, rather than permission, as this still conveys respect without appearing out-dated or irrelevant.
When it's not ok
While choosing to speak to your future father-in-law about your intentions to marry his daughter is a completely personal choice, there are some cases when it probably isn't appropriate. Understanding the nature of your bride's relationship with her family is probably the most important element in considering this decision. If things are a little rocky on the family front, or they're just really not that close, it may be best to consider whether this would be something that may actually upset your bride-to-be.
If you're all geared up to take the plunge and speak to your future father-in-law, here are a few pointers to ensure a successful outcome:
1. Gauge your girlfriend's reaction
There is no point sweating over speaking to your future father-in-law about your intentions to marry his daughter, if she is nowhere near ready to tie the knot. Hopefully by the time the father-in-law question comes up, both you and your soon-to-be-fiancé are on the same page about where your relationship is at.
2. Face to face is preferred
If at all possible, try and have the conversation man-to-man. This conveys heartfelt intention and is a genuine sign of reverence and respect. If her father lives far away, a phone conversation might be acceptable, but avoid email or texting for obvious reasons.
3. Express your feelings toward your bride and reassure him of your best intentions
Whatever he may think of you, your father-in-law is a fierce protector of his little girl. Express your love and appreciation for his daughter and reassure him that you will care for her as well as he has done.
Whatever the outcome
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