You’ve been coached on what to say, and how to act, practiced your manners and etiquette. After sitting in deep meditation for hours on end to build up your courage, you finally feel ready to ask her father for her hand in marriage.
The day is here, and you’re in good spirits. You approach the house with a smile on your face and confidence in your walk. You knock on the door. “Knock knock.” The door swings open, and her father is standing there, stone-faced.
The color drains from your face. The confidence in your step turns into a snail paced limp. The script that you had memorized is now filed away in a secret safe deep inside of your head.
As her mother sets the table, her father continues to stare you down; you somehow muster a nervous smile and notice a framed photo on the wall. You glance at her father and say, “Who is that with you in the picture?”
“My mother.” Her father responds. “She’s dead.”
The nervousness rushes back. You have no idea what to say next. “Do you…do you have a bathroom?” Her father nods. He makes a motion with his hands. “Back there? Ok, I’ll find it.”
You stand up and anxiously walk to the bathroom.
The rest of the evening does not go well. Your future father-in-law has not stopped staring at you. Your girlfriend tries to make conversation in order to ease the tension.
Finally, when her mother brings out desert, you approach the topic. “The reason…the reason,” you try not to stutter, but the words do not seem to form. “Sir, the reason I came here tonight was because I wanted to explain to you just how much I love your daughter and I would…“
“No.” Her father responds.
“But I…I have a good job, and I can support your daughter.”
You pause and look around the room in disbelief.
The next thing you know, you’re walking out of her house, thoughts racing through your head.
What happens now? I’ve done everything right! Do I still propose to her?
Examine His Reasons
Leaving the dramatics aside, this is a situation familiar to many men (me included). Chick flicks often depict a hard-headed, overprotective father who will say no to her daughter’s boyfriend, regardless of what her boyfriend does to try to impress him. This is not ALWAYS the case. Sometimes, there are legitimate reasons why the father has refused to give you his blessings.
Your first step in handling such a situation should be to see whether or not her father’s objections are valid. If he is worried about your ability to take care of his daughter, then you need to prove to her parents that you do indeed have the financial resources to take care of their daughter.
Her parents just want to make sure you can support her…Can you?
If you do not have the financial resources to take care of her, then it’s time to get a job.
They may also feel that neither of you are mature enough to get married. What is your track record? What is her track record? How long have the two of you known each other? If you’ve only been together for 3-4 months, then perhaps it’s time to slow things down a bit. Take some time to see if what you have will actually last.
Getting Married without their Blessings
If you’ve examined yourself and absolutely know that (1) you will be able to take care of her, and (2) she is the right girl for you, and the parents are still not on board, then perhaps it is just time for you to move forward without their blessings.
You should be aware of the decisions you will have to make when taking this step. For one thing, in most cultures (irrespective of religion), it is often the father who “gives away” the bride. This “giving away” signifies that he is entrusting you with the life of his daughter. If the father is unable to do so, then it is often the closest male relative. Therefore, you may want to reach out to a male relative who will be part of the wedding to give her away.
In addition, if your girlfriend is very close to her family, then it may be tough for her to let go and move on. She is leaving behind parents who gave birth and cared for her for 20+ years, to move forward with the man she’s known for a fraction of that time.
Women are intricate creatures and thus have hundreds of browsers open in their minds at once. If this relationship doesn’t work out, then I’ll have to hear a big ‘We told you so.’ If my parents are against this marriage, what if other people are also against us? What if no one comes to our wedding? These are the types of thoughts that may go through her mind. You will constantly have to reassure her that everything will be OK (even when you yourself do not know if everything will be OK.)
Things may not be as tough if your girlfriend is not very close to her family. However, the fact that there is a strain on the relationship between her and her parents will carry over to your marriage. These are things that you must be aware of before moving forward.