How to Ask Your Girlfriend's Parents for Their Daughter's Hand in Marriage

Written by ehow relationships & family editor
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Asking your girlfriend's parents for their daughter's hand in marriage is a time-honored tradition that shows respect for your potential in-laws. Although many men no longer ask the parents' permission, it's something you should do. Follow these steps to ask your girlfriend's parents for their permission or blessing to marry her.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Consider how you will word your request. Some people view this tradition as sexist or outdated, but if you use careful wording, your request will come across as highly respectful.

  2. 2

    Arrange a time to speak with your girlfriend's parents. If they live nearby, then you can ask to come by their house to speak with them for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can invite them to dinner. If they live too far away to visit, make plans to call them when you think they'll be home. If you call, make sure that both are available at the same time.

  3. 3

    Begin your conversation by telling them how much you love and care for their daughter. Explain why you think it's now time to move your relationship to the next level. Tell them about plans to support your wife and family. Follow up by asking if you may have their blessing before you propose.

  4. 4

    Stay calm if the parents say no. Although this probably won't happen, there is certainly a chance that it will. Respectfully ask what their reasoning is. It's probably something reasonable, such as the desire for you to have a steady job with benefits before you get married. If the reason is something like this, do what they wish and then ask again. Your girlfriend's parents love her, are interested in her best wishes and just want her to be happy for the rest of her life.

Tips and warnings

  • If your girlfriend's parents are divorced, you can start by asking the one she lived with the most as a child. On the other hand, you may choose to ask the one whom you are most friendly with first. This choice is up to you.

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