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Asking the Parents

CristoCristo Registered User regular
edited December 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
So I was having a discussion with some of my first year University friends, and we were talking about whether (as guys) we would/should ask the girls' parents for her hand in marriage and whether the girls would want the guys to do it.

Interestingly enough, it would seem the majority of the girls and the guys felt that they should ask the parents.

I was convinced that at University, such an "oldschool" and perhaps outdated practice would not have such popular support. Personally I don't think I would ask the parents of the girl I'd like to marry, I like to think that we live in a progressive enough society that the girl should be allowed to marry whoever she wants.

I come to you PA, to ask whether you asked the parents? Whether you think it has any baring - if the father said no, would you let that affect your decision? Do you think it's the right thing to do?

Cristo on
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Posts

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    On this subject, what really matter are the views of the parents and your desire to maintain a relationship with them.

    japan on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    It would depend entirely upon what she wanted.

    Though, who says the guy has to be the one to propose? If the girl is proposing, should she ask his parents?

    Thanatos on
  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Yeah, I see it as a gesture of respect, not necessity. You don't have to ask them, but if you love your girl/boyfriend enough, and they want you to do it, why wouldn't you?

    Zombiemambo on
    JKKaAGp.png
  • TamTam Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Historically, what's the symbolism of this?

    I personally wouldn't ask the parents unless I'd asked her first, and she said yes, and she really really wanted me to ask her parents as well.

    Tam on
  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I suppose if the other wanted you too. I wouldn't just assume it though because that implies the son/daughter as an object of belonging.

    Personally, I hate that idea. Ask her parents to marry her. What the fuck do her parents have to do with our relationship? But as you can tell, I'm not a big family guy. If she is, however...

    Lilnoobs on
  • LeitnerLeitner Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Tam wrote: »
    Historically, what's the symbolism of this?

    I personally wouldn't ask the parents unless I'd asked her first, and she said yes, and she really really wanted me to ask her parents as well.

    Women as property. Dowry and all that.

    Leitner on
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Yeah, I see it as a gesture of respect, not necessity. You don't have to ask them, but if you love your girl/boyfriend enough, and they want you to do it, why wouldn't you?

    Yeah this. In my experience, you're not really asking permission to marry (since that's the daughter's to give), but more just the parents' blessing and support. If you're planning on having a friendly relationship with the parents (which is generally the case), then it's an easy move that doesn't hurt at all.

    Aioua on
    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
  • Donkey KongDonkey Kong Putting Nintendo out of business with AI nips Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Having the parents and family on your side when you're buying the ring and proposing can be a big asset. In my extended family, we've helped many a boyfriend propose to and marry my female cousins. Obviously, for any of this to happen, they need to know what's going on and approve of it.

    If they don't approve and you want to try anyway, then screw 'em (or listen to their concerns if they're reasonable).

    Donkey Kong on
    Thousands of hot, local singles are waiting to play at bubbulon.com.
  • TamTam Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Leitner wrote: »
    Tam wrote: »
    Historically, what's the symbolism of this?

    I personally wouldn't ask the parents unless I'd asked her first, and she said yes, and she really really wanted me to ask her parents as well.

    Women as property. Dowry and all that.

    Now I'm even less inclined to ask the parents.

    Best case scenario, this has evolved into a sort of ritual to foster a good relationship with her parents. I'd rather attempt that some other way.

    Tam on
  • EinEin CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I actually asked her mother, and not her father, simply because I know her mother better personally (we worked together in a law office) and I had no idea how to reach her father for the most part - he travels a lot during his work, and asking over the phone or something seemed really awkward.

    I had ambitious plans about bringing my now-fiance to the carribean with me and proposing down there, though, so that's sort've why I went to her at all - partly to seek her blessing about it, and partly to make sure she was okay with me hauling her daughter a thousand miles away for a week. I'm on great terms with her family, though.

    Ein on
  • Donkey KongDonkey Kong Putting Nintendo out of business with AI nips Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Tam wrote: »
    Leitner wrote: »
    Tam wrote: »
    Historically, what's the symbolism of this?

    I personally wouldn't ask the parents unless I'd asked her first, and she said yes, and she really really wanted me to ask her parents as well.

    Women as property. Dowry and all that.

    Now I'm even less inclined to ask the parents.

    Best case scenario, this has evolved into a sort of ritual to foster a good relationship with her parents. I'd rather attempt that some other way.

    These days, it's more likely the parents bring it up to you:

    "When are you going to propose to my daughter? You've been dating for 3 years, practically living together for a year. What's the hold up?"

    You're thinking of this way too formally and building it up. You should be on good terms with the family already. You're not requesting permission out of nowhere, you're asking for advice, asking for help.

    Donkey Kong on
    Thousands of hot, local singles are waiting to play at bubbulon.com.
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Tam wrote: »
    Leitner wrote: »
    Tam wrote: »
    Historically, what's the symbolism of this?

    I personally wouldn't ask the parents unless I'd asked her first, and she said yes, and she really really wanted me to ask her parents as well.

    Women as property. Dowry and all that.

    Now I'm even less inclined to ask the parents.

    Best case scenario, this has evolved into a sort of ritual to foster a good relationship with her parents. I'd rather attempt that some other way.

    Just to nitpick, dowry isn't women as property. That'd be bride price (you pay bride's family to marry her). Dowry is when the bride's family has to pay the groom just to get rid of her... so like the bride actually has negative value and has to be offset with cash. I guess women as a toxic asset?

    um... anyway, Tam, why does women being treated poorly in the past have an impact on the rituals of today. Do you think that simply asking for her parents blessing implies that it was necessary? I don't see the problem as long as the bride is okay with the idea.

    Aioua on
    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
  • TamTam Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Tam wrote: »
    Leitner wrote: »
    Tam wrote: »
    Historically, what's the symbolism of this?

    I personally wouldn't ask the parents unless I'd asked her first, and she said yes, and she really really wanted me to ask her parents as well.

    Women as property. Dowry and all that.

    Now I'm even less inclined to ask the parents.

    Best case scenario, this has evolved into a sort of ritual to foster a good relationship with her parents. I'd rather attempt that some other way.

    These days, it's more likely the parents bring it up to you:

    "When are you going to propose to my daughter? You've been dating for 3 years, practically living together for a year. What's the hold up?"

    You're thinking of this way too formally and building it up. You should be on good terms with the family already. You're not requesting permission out of nowhere, you're asking for advice, asking for help.

    Fair enough.

    Tam on
  • VoodooVVoodooV Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Are we sure it isn't one of things where when you're given the question. The idea of asking the parents seems romantic and traditionalist, so when asked the question, sure they say yes.

    But when push comes to shove...in reality, does asking parents for permission really happen all that often?

    in other words: polls do not reflect reality

    VoodooV on
  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Aioua wrote: »
    Tam wrote: »
    Leitner wrote: »
    Tam wrote: »
    Historically, what's the symbolism of this?

    I personally wouldn't ask the parents unless I'd asked her first, and she said yes, and she really really wanted me to ask her parents as well.

    Women as property. Dowry and all that.

    Now I'm even less inclined to ask the parents.

    Best case scenario, this has evolved into a sort of ritual to foster a good relationship with her parents. I'd rather attempt that some other way.

    Just to nitpick, dowry isn't women as property. That'd be bride price (you pay bride's family to marry her). Dowry is when the bride's family has to pay the groom just to get rid of her... so like the bride actually has negative value and has to be offset with cash. I guess women as a toxic asset?

    um... anyway, Tam, why does women being treated poorly in the past have an impact on the rituals of today. Do you think that simply asking for her parents blessing implies that it was necessary? I don't see the problem as long as the bride is okay with the idea.


    Um, /hijack. Yes, it does and yes it should.

    Lilnoobs on
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »

    [...] why does women being treated poorly in the past have an impact on the rituals of today. Do you think that simply asking for her parents blessing implies that it was necessary? I don't see the problem as long as the bride is okay with the idea.

    Um, /hijack. Yes, it does and yes it should.

    Why? Is there anything inherently opressive or offensive about asking a woman's parents blessing before asking her to marry you? If there's no expectation that they actually have control over who she chooses to marry, how is the move anything but politic? Just because it stems from a time where we believed women inferior and property, doesn't make it still true today.

    Aioua on
    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Are we still talking about asking permission, or are we now talking about asking for their blessing? There is a distinct difference.

    japan on
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I think merely in the sense of tradition and planning, your parents should be involved in your wedding. If they're not paying for it, they're probably still expected to attend/plan/participate in the marriage and the ensuing family.

    If there's actual doubt about her parents acquiescing to the wedding, you need to think about the timing of the marriage regardless of the fact that in the modern world they have no literal control over the decision. Unless she's some sort of Sad Orphan, you don't really marry a girl. You marry a girl and a distressing amount of family.

    beyond the question of "Is this the phallocracy rearing its ugly purple head yet again" there's also an element to this of, to paraphrase "Bad Like Jesse James," of coming at the parents like a good man should. Unless the parents are estranged, you should talk to them - and the girl should talk to yours - about the impending wedding. While, again, literally canvassing for permission is perhaps a little old-world, if you aren't comfortable talking with your parents about if you belong married, there's a chance you aren't ready to be married.

    To more directly address your original question, I can't help but think the type of person who would reject the asking for her hand part probably, when of university age, rejects the entire institution of marriage.

    JohnnyCache on
  • Donkey KongDonkey Kong Putting Nintendo out of business with AI nips Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    The only thing it's about is respect. If you think that asking a woman's parents for their blessing is stupid because you shouldn't have to, then your real problem is one of maturity.

    Insecurity over your sense of control and all that.

    Donkey Kong on
    Thousands of hot, local singles are waiting to play at bubbulon.com.
  • BloodySlothBloodySloth Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I likely won't ask my girlfriend's parents when/if I end up proposing. It's not necessarily because I disrespect them or anything, it's just that they're extremely zealous evangelicals and I'm not christian, so they would say no even though I'm on great terms with them otherwise. It's an "unequal yoke" thing.

    So there can be mitigating factors. I mean I see the whole ritual of asking the parents as more of a pleasantry anyway, so if the SO is all for it then I'd say do it, otherwise it's just personal preference.

    BloodySloth on
  • Donkey KongDonkey Kong Putting Nintendo out of business with AI nips Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    japan wrote: »
    Are we still talking about asking permission, or are we now talking about asking for their blessing? There is a distinct difference.

    "Permission" is not the right term anymore, because the parents don't hold any actual authority. I mean, you can still ask permission, but that's pretty dorky and antiquated. I assume we switched over to "blessing".

    BloodySloth: And yeah, there are definitely exceptions for unreasonable parents. You still might want let them figure it out gradually, as long as they're not likely to pull shit to cancel your wedding.

    Donkey Kong on
    Thousands of hot, local singles are waiting to play at bubbulon.com.
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    The only thing it's about is respect. If you think that asking a woman's parents for their blessing is stupid because you shouldn't have to, then your real problem is one of maturity.

    Insecurity over your sense of control and all that.

    Asking for their blessing is fine, asking for permission is pretty creepy. The only real reason to be doing the latter is that you want to preserve your (and/or your partner's) relationship with the parents and they feel that it's something you should be doing.

    japan on
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    japan wrote: »
    The only thing it's about is respect. If you think that asking a woman's parents for their blessing is stupid because you shouldn't have to, then your real problem is one of maturity.

    Insecurity over your sense of control and all that.

    Asking for their blessing is fine, asking for permission is pretty creepy. The only real reason to be doing the latter is that you want to preserve your (and/or your partner's) relationship with the parents and they feel that it's something you should be doing.

    The only difference between "blessing" and "permission" is how much actual sway the parents hold over the child. Somehow coming in and saying, "Not that I intend to abide by them, but what are your thoughts on me marrying your daughter, a thing about which we have already made up our minds" is probably not a good idea, even if both parties know its true.

    JohnnyCache on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    If we're just talking about a blessing then it's just a nicety. Nobody's going to get bent out of shape about whether or not the question is asked.

    japan on
  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2009
    The only thing it's about is respect. If you think that asking a woman's parents for their blessing is stupid because you shouldn't have to, then your real problem is one of maturity.

    Insecurity over your sense of control and all that.

    Bullshit. It's stupid because it's the woman's life, and the woman's choice. You think it shows respect to go behind her back and ask her parents for permission to propose, I think it shows you don't respect her as an individual.

    Maturity doesn't come into it.

    Bionic Monkey on
    sig_megas_armed.jpg
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Getting their blessing can't hurt. Even if they cannot give their blessing, they may provide valuable information when asked for it.

    Incenjucar on
  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2009
    japan wrote: »
    The only thing it's about is respect. If you think that asking a woman's parents for their blessing is stupid because you shouldn't have to, then your real problem is one of maturity.

    Insecurity over your sense of control and all that.

    Asking for their blessing is fine, asking for permission is pretty creepy. The only real reason to be doing the latter is that you want to preserve your (and/or your partner's) relationship with the parents and they feel that it's something you should be doing.

    Frankly, if your relationship with her parents is on such shaky ground that not asking them before you ask the woman will send it all toppling down, then asking them isn't going to do any good anyway.

    Bionic Monkey on
    sig_megas_armed.jpg
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    True.

    But ass-kissing your in-laws at the right time can make the rest of your life easier.

    Incenjucar on
  • psychotixpsychotix __BANNED USERS regular
    edited November 2009
    The only thing it's about is respect. If you think that asking a woman's parents for their blessing is stupid because you shouldn't have to, then your real problem is one of maturity.

    Insecurity over your sense of control and all that.

    Bullshit. It's stupid because it's the woman's life, and the woman's choice. You think it shows respect to go behind her back and ask her parents for permission to propose, I think it shows you don't respect her as an individual.

    Maturity doesn't come into it.

    On the other hand then when you get married when they say "if anybody has any objections speak now or forever hold your peace" you can't object when dad pops off.

    Really in our current society, it doesn't matter. I'd say if you had enough beef with her family going into it, it won't work anyways.

    I view it, like marriage, as a stupid custom to get over with and make the old people happy.

    psychotix on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    japan wrote: »
    The only thing it's about is respect. If you think that asking a woman's parents for their blessing is stupid because you shouldn't have to, then your real problem is one of maturity.

    Insecurity over your sense of control and all that.

    Asking for their blessing is fine, asking for permission is pretty creepy. The only real reason to be doing the latter is that you want to preserve your (and/or your partner's) relationship with the parents and they feel that it's something you should be doing.

    Frankly, if your relationship with her parents is on such shaky ground that not asking them before you ask the woman will send it all toppling down, then asking them isn't going to do any good anyway.

    It is possible to maintain a cordial relationship with someone you detest. Even if your partner's parents hate your guts, there still isn't any reason to actively piss them off, assuming your partner still wants to spend time with them.

    japan on
  • CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I would ask the girls parents as a gesture of respect but if they said no and we still wanted to go ahead with it anyway then that's what is going to happen.

    Casual on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    psychotix wrote: »
    On the other hand then when you get married when they say "if anybody has any objections speak now or forever hold your peace" you can't object when dad pops off.

    I don't think anyone is foolish enough to invite anyone likely to do this to their wedding.

    japan on
  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Aioua wrote: »
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »

    [...] why does women being treated poorly in the past have an impact on the rituals of today. Do you think that simply asking for her parents blessing implies that it was necessary? I don't see the problem as long as the bride is okay with the idea.

    Um, /hijack. Yes, it does and yes it should.

    Why? Is there anything inherently opressive or offensive about asking a woman's parents blessing before asking her to marry you? If there's no expectation that they actually have control over who she chooses to marry, how is the move anything but politic? Just because it stems from a time where we believed women inferior and property, doesn't make it still true today.

    Well, for one, the only reason a man asks for a blessing or permission is because of that history. This question wouldn't even be brought up if that history didn't exist, so merely positing it is offensive. Furthermore, in doing so it perpetuates a woman's position even if it is merely a performance, as performances still hold power. In fact, that's where many gender differences lie, in performances, and this is one of them.

    Another, the very reason it's just political maneuvering should throw into question the practice: maneuvering for what and why? For her parents? Why? So they think or at least pretend they have a say in who their daughter marries? Is this what one wishes to propagate?

    The couple may have no expectation when the question is asked but 1) that doesn't necessarily mean the parents believe this and 2) once a performance is uttered power is re-allocated, so what to expect after this power mechanism can hardly be expected. Meaning, expecting one thing out of a performance doesn't mean that is what will happen. Of course this goes both ways to my argument, but why not just do something else that hasn't been stamping on women's rights for hundreds of years?

    No action is benign, even if the intentions are hallow.

    Lilnoobs on
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    japan wrote: »
    The only thing it's about is respect. If you think that asking a woman's parents for their blessing is stupid because you shouldn't have to, then your real problem is one of maturity.

    Insecurity over your sense of control and all that.

    Asking for their blessing is fine, asking for permission is pretty creepy. The only real reason to be doing the latter is that you want to preserve your (and/or your partner's) relationship with the parents and they feel that it's something you should be doing.

    Frankly, if your relationship with her parents is on such shaky ground that not asking them before you ask the woman will send it all toppling down, then asking them isn't going to do any good anyway.

    If your relationship with your girlfriend is on such shakey ground that a ring and a ceremony would make or break it, you shouldn't get married, but you still offer her those things. She'll also probably wear a white dress, even though you've hopefully fucked her nine ways from sunday before getting married. It's a question of manner and tradition, a minor one, not ownership. Put another way, people who really think the parents have a problem with their wedding probably aren't going to observe this custom anyway.

    JohnnyCache on
  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Ask her first. If she says yes, I'd then ask her parents, if she wanted.

    Fencingsax on
  • Wet BanditWet Bandit Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    This is getting lost in all the theory of the gesture, but I think what matters most is the woman and her parents. I've known women that would seethe at the idea of her boyfriend asking her parents for permission or blessing, and I've known parents who would find it silly. My parents, for example, would laugh if a guy asked for their blessing to marry my sister. My parents just aren't traditional like that.

    If you're thinking of getting married, you should probably be able to tell whether or not your girlfriend and her parents would appreciate the gesture of asking for the parents' blessing.

    Wet Bandit on
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Aioua wrote: »

    [...] why does women being treated poorly in the past have an impact on the rituals of today. Do you think that simply asking for her parents blessing implies that it was necessary? I don't see the problem as long as the bride is okay with the idea.

    Um, /hijack. Yes, it does and yes it should.

    Why? Is there anything inherently opressive or offensive about asking a woman's parents blessing before asking her to marry you? If there's no expectation that they actually have control over who she chooses to marry, how is the move anything but politic? Just because it stems from a time where we believed women inferior and property, doesn't make it still true today.

    Well, for one, the only reason a man asks for a blessing or permission is because of that history. This question wouldn't even be brought up if that history didn't exist, so merely positing it is offensive. Furthermore, in doing so it perpetuates a woman's position even if it is merely a performance, as performances still hold power. In fact, that's where many gender differences lie, in performances, and this is one of them.

    Another, the very reason it's just political maneuvering should throw into question the practice: maneuvering for what and why? For her parents? Why? So they think or at least pretend they have a say in who their daughter marries? Is this what one wishes to propagate?

    The couple may have no expectation when the question is asked but 1) that doesn't necessarily mean the parents believe this and 2) once a performance is uttered power is re-allocated, so what to expect after this power mechanism can hardly be expected. Meaning, expecting one thing out of a performance doesn't mean that is what will happen. Of course this goes both ways to my argument, but why not just do something else that hasn't been stamping on women's rights for hundreds of years?

    No action is benign, even if the intentions are hallow.

    There's also the tiny element of the two people on earth that presumptively have known your partner longest and best might have some insight as the timing and logistics of this major life decision. Add to it that people of an age to have their first marriage are often still entwined with their parents in many ways.

    If your girlfriend's father says, "I'd prefer you didn't because you're a putz in college with no real job, plan, ambition, or prospects. If you love her, get engaged for a year..." believe it or not that 50 year old man might be trying to save you a fuckup.

    JohnnyCache on
  • psychotixpsychotix __BANNED USERS regular
    edited November 2009
    japan wrote: »
    psychotix wrote: »
    On the other hand then when you get married when they say "if anybody has any objections speak now or forever hold your peace" you can't object when dad pops off.

    I don't think anyone is foolish enough to invite anyone likely to do this to their wedding.

    I was comparing one stupid ritual to another. Marriage is just that, if you are going to go through with it why not do all the stupid. I for one don't think shiny rocks and fancy clothes are important either.

    psychotix on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Got to say, never really looked at marriage as a major life decision. My experience of it has broadly been that it happens when people have been together long enough that they might as well formalise it.

    japan on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    psychotix wrote: »
    japan wrote: »
    psychotix wrote: »
    On the other hand then when you get married when they say "if anybody has any objections speak now or forever hold your peace" you can't object when dad pops off.

    I don't think anyone is foolish enough to invite anyone likely to do this to their wedding.

    I was comparing one stupid ritual to another. Marriage is just that, if you are going to go through with it why not do all the stupid. I for one don't think shiny rocks and fancy clothes are important either.

    There's no reason not to cherry-pick the bits you think are important/will most enjoy.

    japan on
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