Sweaty palms and a racing heart with a little bit of "What the heck am doing?" are common during a proposal. Even if the couple have discussed there future, there is something still nerve racking about getting down on one knee and presenting a gorgeous engagement ring signifying your love while asking her for a lifetime of marriage.
The good news is that you are not alone. Millions of people each year become engaged and get married and billions have done it before you as well. Tradition has it that a man asks for his bride-to-be's father for his daughter's hand in marriage. That alone can seem daunting too. As you continue you will learn some tips to make your proposal as seamless as possible.
Asking for his daughter's hand in marriage
Two hundred years ago the life expectancy of a person was 30-40. Pretty crazy right! In order for mankind to grow, man and woman would procreate much earlier than 2014. It was common for 12-13 year old girls to marry and start having babies before the age of 15. Considering that many generations lived in one house, it made sense to ask the father for his daughter's hand in marriage for a couple of reasons.
#1 - It's a sign of your commitment to her and you have made that vow to her father as well.
#2 - It's respectful of her and a sign of maturity.
I know it sounds odd in this day and age, but this was the norm of society and there was nothing odd about it. Nowadays we live so much longer that people naturally started to wait longer to get married.
1. Talk to your girlfriend first. Before you go and sit down and talk man-to-man with your potential father-in-law, make sure you and your girlfriend are on the same page as far as the whole marriage thing goes. Is she ready to commit? Does she even want to get married? If so, how soon does she want to get hitched? You don’t want to get your girlfriend’s father’s blessing to marry his daughter, just to have his daughter turn you down when you propose.
2. Try to meet him before you ask. If it’s possible, try to meet your girlfriend’s parents a few times before you decide you want to marry her. While my wife and I were dating, I had the opportunity to visit her parents on several occasions. I got to know them rather well before we got engaged. It made sitting down with her dad and discussing my wish to marry his daughter a bit easier because we had already established a relationship. Again, not all situations will allow this, but if you can, do it.
3. Sit down with him man-to-man. There are several ways you can go about this, and I think it all depends on what kind of man your girlfriend’s father is. Consider taking him out to dinner or going to a bar or coffee shop. Breaking bread with him might make the situation a bit more comfortable. If that’s not a possibility, during a visit just ask if you can speak to him in private. If her dad lives far away, try to time the conversation for a trip home which has already been planned, perhaps during the holidays. If this is not possible, it’s okay to conduct the talk over the phone.
4. Start out expressing your feelings for his daughter. I think the best way to start off the conversation is to express to the father your love and admiration for his daughter. Tell him how much she means to you. Mention some specific qualities that you love about her. He raised her, so you are really complimenting him at the same time.
5. Explain your wish to marry his daughter. Now it’s time to cut to the chase. Explain your wish to marry his daughter. Assure him that you understand the seriousness of the commitment and that being able to spend the rest of your life with his daughter would make you the happiest man in the world.
6. Promise him that you’ll take care of his daughter for the rest of her life. Put yourself in this man’s shoes. He’s been the man in her life since she was baby. He’s taken care of her since she was in diapers and only wants the best for her. He wants to know that he’s handing off his little girl to someone that will take just as good care of her as he has. Make the commitment that you’ll always honor, respect, and cherish his daughter.
7. Respectfully ask for his blessing. Now, just request his blessing and support in you asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage.