So you found the girl of dreams. You professed your love early on then dedicated the next couple of years (or months/weeks/days depending on your circumstance) courting her, building your relationship and, eventually, winning the affection of her family and friends. Heck, during that time you may have even managed to save up enough money to buy her a ring! If so, then the prospect of marriage is clearly on your mind. But until you muster up the courage to ask her father’s permission, you’ll have to put those proposal plans on hold.
Remember, it doesn’t matter how mean, unfriendly and intimidating you think her father may be. If you want to marry his little girl, the man deserves the proper respect of being asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
With that being said, there’s no need to stress yourself out about this part of the process. Trust me, there will be plenty of other opportunities to stress out before your wedding day. Instead, follow these five simple tips and you’ll find yourself in her father’s good graces and on the road to holy matrimony!
Do it in person. We live in an era where e-mails, text messages, Skype, Facebook and Twitter are fast becoming the preferred method of communication for many people—but probably not your future father-in-law. So when it comes to having the marriage conversation, you’ll want to make every effort to do so in person. Remember, a face-to-face meeting goes a long way in conveying a certain level of respect. It also shows her father that you are taking this proposal seriously. But most importantly it shows just how much you value having her entire family’s love, support and approval.
“Although tradition suggests that you only need to ask your girlfriend‘s father for permission to marry her, don’t forget to ask her mother as well. After all, she also helped raise her daughter to become the amazing woman she is today.”
- Chris Easter, editor-in-chief of GroomsAdvice.com and author of “Be The Man”
Don’t rush it. Just because you have a busy work schedule doesn’t mean you can rush through this part of the process. This conversation isn’t going to be your typical family banter, so block out some time (especially if you have to try and do some convincing). Just know it’s not going to be as simple as saying, “Hey, I’d like to marry your daughter.” So get comfortable, you could be there for a while.
Think about what you want to say. This will be one of the most important conversations of your life. With that being said, you’ll want to make sure you go into it as confident and prepared as possible. Sometimes it’s hard for guys to express their feelings, especially to another man. But it will be even harder if you don’t think before you speak. In the days leading up to your big sit down make a short list of the key points you want to express, and spend some time finding the right words to do so. You don’t want your words to sound insincere or rehearsed (always avoid the use of note cards). But you also don’t want to be stumbling over every sentence. Taking the time to compose your thoughts and align them with your feelings will go a long way toward making her father see you as the great husband you have the potential to be.
Show some respect. Above all else, it’s very important that you maintain a certain level of respect throughout the conversation—even if things don’t go as smoothly as planned. You might not get the answer you’re looking for right away. And there’s always a chance things could deteriorate into an argument. But if you lose your cool, or do anything else that could be taken as a sign of disrespect, there wont be any turning back.
Be yourself. Going over what you want to say ahead of time is one thing. Coming up with a phony line about how rich and successful you are, or how you and your future father-in-law share a love of stamp collecting is quite another. While you definitely want to make a good impression, there’s no need to try and overly impress anyone. Presenting yourself as something you’re not will only cause more harm than good. Simply put, if the words coming out of your mouth aren’t reflective of who you are as a person, don’t use them. After all, your future fiancée loves you for a reason. Stay true to who you are, and her parents will love you too—even if it takes some time.
— J. Morgan