Should I Ask Permission Before Proposing?

Planning to propose is a major milestone in a relationship. The proposal itself is stressful, but there’s something even more daunting than that. You have to ask for the parent’s blessing.

Is this still a tradition? Should you ask permission before proposing? What’s the right path for your relationship? Here’s some advice from the premarital counselors at Family Counseling Associates.

Asking Permission Is Still a Tradition in the U.S.

According to the 2019 Global Wedding Report, asking parents before proposing is still a strong tradition in America. Approximately 67% of couples married in 2018 said they sought their parents’ blessing before getting engaged. This is much less common in European countries. For instance, only 8% of couples in Italy and 9% of couples in Spain involved their parents in the engagement process.

Your Beliefs May Not Match ‘Traditions’

Just because asking permission is popular does not mean it’s right for you. Your lifestyle, personalities, relationship dynamic, and other factors may suggest that you don’t need to ask the parents’ permission. The most important consideration here is what matters to your future fiancé. Was she/he raised in a traditional manner? Does she/he have a good family relationship? Has she/he made comments about getting the parents’ blessing in the past? Think about what your future spouse would want most to ensure the proposal goes smoothly.

How to Ask for a Proposal Blessing

If you think asking the parents is the best option for you, you now have a separate plan to come up with. It’s not just about the proposal anymore – it’s proposing to propose.

First, consider who you need to ask. Traditionally, you would ask the father’s permission. However, asking both parents is a more common practice in the modern world. You may also talk to a grandparent or significant figure in your partner’s life. Consider whose blessing your future spouse would value most.

Once you know who to ask, you need to think about where, when and how. Ideally, this should be done in person, so you can look into the person’s eyes and convey your pure intentions. If that is not an option, consider a phone call or video chat. Avoid text or email requests, as those feel impersonal and insincere.

The request should be natural. It doesn’t have to be scripted or meticulously planned. Explain how much you value your partner and why you want to spend your life with her/him. You know why you love this person. You know why you want to get married. Let your heart do the talking, and you’ll establish a great foundation for your future.

If you are interested in premarital counseling, contact Family Counseling Associates. You may reach us at (978) 222-3121. We offer affordable, confidential couples counseling in many communities. We will gladly match you with a licensed therapist near you.

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