How to ask the parents permission to marry their daughter?

After I have published the article How to propose marriage to a girl?, a reader asked me how to behave when you ask the parents permission for their daughter’s hand in marriage. In this article I will share some advice with the men who want to act wisely when they will go to ask the parents permission to marry their girl, and to get a positive and beautiful answer.

Make a good plan

Before you go to ask the girl’s hand from her parents, make a good plan. Think when is the best time to do this, what gifts to give to them, but what the most important is, what you are going to speak. It would be good to write on a paper everything you are going to speak. But don’t go to the parents with this paper – that will be a shame on you. The way you will speak is the decisive factor, and if you don’t do it wisely, don’t wait to receive a positive answer from them.

Don’t go empty-handed

The Word of God says:

A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men. (Proverbs of Solomon 18:16)(NASB)

Listen to God’s advice and when you go to ask the girl’s hand to marry her, prepare a nice gift for the girl’s mother, for her father, for all her brothers and sisters and for her. These gifts will open the hearts of the members of her family and open the entrance to her parents, because they are those who are going to make the decision. You don’t have to buy expensive gifts, but something that is going to bring joy to that certain person. So, it is good to find out beforehand what everyone wants. You can be sure that the girl’s mother will be glad to receive flowers and this will make her appreciate you from the beginning. Don’t forget that the first impression matters, and especially the first impression of the mother. But, be attentive to gifts. Don’t try to buy expensive things, because the parents of the girls may think that you came to buy their daughter and not to propose marriage and that you treat them as cheap people, that can be influenced by gifts to make an important decision. So, be attentive to all things.

In biblical times, a man didn’t go for himself to ask a girl’s hand, but sent a representative. In fact our nation had the same tradition, when a man wanted to marry a woman, he sent a wise person who could have a wise discussion. Patriarch Abraham, when the time came to find a wife for Isaac, his son, he sent his slave Eliezer to bring him a wife. Here is how Eliezer acted when he went to propose marriage to Rebekah. Firstly he examined the girl to see her character. He met her at a well and he asked for a drink and the girl gave water to him and to all his camels, showing in that way a special goodwill to strangers.

When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold (Genesis 24:22)(NASB)

He gave these gifts to Rebekah and she brought them to her mother and her brother Laban. When Laban saw the gifts, he assumed a special attitude towards Elizer, who was a stranger at that moment. You may say: but Eliezer brought expensive gifts, why shouldn’t I give the same? His master, Abaham was a very rich man and he didn’t have to make a great effort that a guy should make nowadays to give such gifts. And then, that gift was given to the girl, so she got the most special gift.

After Eliezer, Abraham’s slave, said the purpose of his arrival and he proposed mariage to Rebekah, and the Scriptures say that:

The servant brought out articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother. (Genesa 24:53)(NASB)

I think that the biblical text is very clear regarding the importance of coming with gifts when you ask the parents permission to marry their daughter.

Talk to parents’ hearts

When Eliezer entered in Rebekah’s parents’ house, he spoke wisely before he ate something. He said: “I will not eat until I have told my business”. Then, immediately after he introduced himself, he told them about Isaac’s parents, whom he knew very well, then he spoke about Isaac and then, he presented very detailed how the Lord had guided him and how he had discovered Rebekah’s beautiful character. It will be very useful for you to read the whole chapter 24 from Genesis and then you can realize your speech according to the same pattern.

  1. Introduce yourself very shortly.
  2. Introduce your parents, but don’t tell too many details. It is better to be asked later, than to be considered as one who speaks more about himself and his parents than about the girl you came to propose marriage.
  3. Tell them how God has guided you and you fell in love with their girl and also talk about her qualities that made you propose marriage to her.
  4. Beware when you make the proposal. It is important how you express this proposal. This is the culmination of your visit and so, be very wise. Make sure that the parents understand that you want to enter a covenant with their daughter before God, and you want to be faithful to this covenant for all your life, showing love for their daughter as the Lord Jesus showed for His church. Don’t tell these words unless you really feel them in your heart. In fact, if you don’t feel this for the girl you say you love, don’t even go to propose marriage.

If parents agree, thank them from your heart and it is good to hug them and to make them know the joy you have.

If parents don’t agree, don’t take it to heart and behave wisely to the end. Ask the parents not to give you a final answer, but to take some more time to think. Do you know why I say this? Because sometimes one of the parents can make a hurried decision and after you leave, both of them will discuss and the girl will also add something and if you spoke wisely and it is God’s will to marry that girl, you will get a positive answer. When you find out the positive answer, rejoice greatly as you could have rejoiced if you got it the first time.

If parents don’t agree for the second time too, accept this thing as from God’s hand. I know that it will be very difficult and I can’t imagine what would I have done if I had got a negative answer when I proposed marriage to my wife. Praised be the Lord who was on my side and I found favor in their eyes, even if I hadn’t done at least nearly what is written in this article. At that time I didn’t know God’s Word. So, if you get a negative answer for the second time, don’t insist and accept this thing as from God who says:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Epistle to Romans 8:28)(NASB)

If parents don’t give in marriage their daughter to you, they will tell you a reason. If this reason is about your character, then think well and analyse their words in the light of God’s Word, to change yourself.

Learn from your parents’ experience

It is also good to advise with your parents before you go to propose marriage to that girl. Ask them how was their marriage, how your father asked your mother to marry him. Ask him what he would do differently if he could do it again. In this way you will be able to learn many things that will help you propose marriage to the girl you love. One more thing, ask your mother how she would have liked to be asked from her parents. It matters very much what your mother says. Women have a special and delicate way to perceive things and if men are attentive to what women say, they will know how to behave wisely in many situations.

Ask the advice of your priest

Since you have decided to marry, it is good to ask the advice of your priest at every detail. This is the role of the priest: to give teaching from the Word of God for all situations from life, and marriage is a very important event.

Now, after you have read this article, if you are sure that you want to build up a family with the girl you love, begin to plan and to prepare to ask her parents’ permission in a wise and beautiful way. May God give you victory, much love, joy and a nice permanent relationship with your future wife, and together with her to show care and love for your and her parents always.

Translated by Felicia Djugostran