Life Advice


Health & Spirit

How, when and whether to ask girlfriend's father for permission to marry her

Carolyn Hax on

You got me. Because cake and the course of one's life are genuinely equivalent.

This topic blew up the queue when it ran live. A sampling:

-- Before I proposed, I spoke with her father -- "I wanted to let you know that I love your daughter, and I'll be asking her to be my wife." I knew she really wouldn't appreciate the "property" overtones, but she'd appreciate me and her dad having a pleasant conversation and being on the same page.

-- How about asking for his (and her mom's) blessing. Or support. But the idea of permission is antiquated and offensive.

-- Our now-son-in-law didn't ask permission but instead came over to say he loved her and hoped we would be happy they wanted to get married. And we are delighted!

-- The comments make it even more with the nope. I am not chattel. I am a person. And if you want to ask anyone, ask my mother, she's the one in charge anyway :).

-- Don't do it. Even my super-conservative father rolled his eyes and replied, "You'll have to ask her."

-- I have to wonder how those having a chat with the future father-in-law would feel about their girlfriends having the same chat with their (the guy's) father. Or mother. You know, having a pleasant conversation and being on the same page.

-- Our now-son-in-law asked. My husband said, "I have no permission to give."

-- Holy crap -- way to rain on the (sweet, traditional) guy's parade!

Eight persuasive arguments for choosing a partner who shares your beliefs. Thanks all.


Email Carolyn at, follow her on Facebook at or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at

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