One tradition that has been slowly fading away from Western society is asking a woman’s father for her hand in marriage. There are, however, some who believe it's respectful to ask a future bride’s father for his blessing as a couple starts down the path towards matrimony. Asking is a sign of a true gentleman and lets the father know that the intentions are sincere. It’s an important tradition, a rite of passage, and a bonding experience between the future father-in-law and the son-in-law to be. Also, many women consider it to be a sweet gesture.
Recently, I received a phone call from a fine gentleman in Minnesota seeking my approval and blessing to propose to my eldest daughter. It's a phone call that most fathers (at least those who appreciate tradition) look forward to. He certainly didn't have to call me and ask, but he chose to and I truly appreciate it. I did indeed give my approval and blessing, and my daughter is now engaged. I am so happy for the two of them and I wish them endless love, true happiness and abundant success on life's path together.
A survey conducted by TheKnot.com reveals that 77 percent of men ask for permission from their partner's father or parents before they propose. Even so, some people argue that asking a father for permission is sexist and recalls a time when women were treated like property. One online feminist blogger wrote that men who ask for permission and/or a blessing from a father are "mindlessly following a tradition" and that women allow it because "we don't want to upset our dusty fusty fathers." It's so sad to see such an attitude.
I know that we live in a time when women are proposing more (about 5 percent of proposals in the U.S. are by women); when some traditions connected with engagements and weddings are fading; and, when the numbers of marriages are declining. Even so, it's wonderful that there are still men out there who will respectfully approach a father about marrying his daughter. As a father for 27 years, I am very appreciative of that moment I experienced a few weeks ago.
I believe that there are more women than not who want a man to open their car door, to have the man they love contact their father before proposing, and who do appreciate traditions that allow a man to truly be a gentleman. I can tell you this... at the age of 56, I'm seeing these things less and less in our world.
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