There has been much discussion of late about men and women and the changing face within our nation as it pertains to marriage. One thought in particular deals with whether or not a man should ask the woman’s parents for permission to marry her.
I remember vividly the many discussions I had with my mom about this, years before marriage was even in my scope of consideration. I neither had prospects for a wife, let alone a girlfriend; nor was I thinking about marriage. But when it came time for me to get to the proposal stage of my relationship with the woman to whom I am now happily married to for nearly three years now, several thoughts came back to me:
- Traditions hold both historical and biblical value: Both historically and biblically, fathers are born to protect and provide for all under their roof. They are responsible for wife and children. A father will not be willing to give his precious daughter to another man to be responsible for, unless he can show through character and commitment that he has the right stuff.
- Asking the father reveals how committed you are: If you’re serious enough to consider marriage, asking the father first shows how serious you are about the relationship. It shows that you are not a fly by night kind of person who will be here one day and gone the next. A father wants to know that it’s going to be lasting.
- Respect is a two-way street: Any self-respecting suitor wants to be respected by the father of the potential bride. The best way to get respect is to show it and give it. By being man enough to come before him and asking permission shows the father that you respect him as the one who has been responsible for her since birth. Remember, in his eyes, she will always be his little princess. The man to whom the father will be willing to give that responsibility over to will be the one he can respect to face him and ask up front and man to man.
- A father knows things: When you’re dating, although you may have spent some time with her family, there are things about her that may not automatically be shared, simply because it’s not known yet how far or serious this relationship is. A father will reveal things to you as a man who will be taking on the responsibilities of caring for his pretty little girl. Knowing these things is important. Often it isn’t about scaring you away, but seeing if you truly know what you are accepting responsibility for.
The bible declares that the man that finds a wife has found indeed found a good thing. If you’re a man who believes that much about the woman you have determined is worthy to bear your last name, honor her first by honoring her father and mother by speaking to them first.
That moment I spent with my wife’s father before we were officially engaged to be married was the most nervous and terrifying time in my life. The reward was in knowing that after I spent that time with him, he saw me different from all those who had come before. And that made all the difference.
QUESTION: What do you thing about a man who will ask the father or parent(s) first?