Is Asking for a Daughter’s Hand Old Fashioned?

February 22, 2019

Relationships today are far more complex than they were a decade ago. With so many college students and young adults downloading dating apps and going on countless meaningless dates, it’s become so much harder to find ‘the one.’ The traditional concept of dating has changed, along with some of the expectations and traditions around marriage.


 Photo: Sandy Millar on Unsplash


If a woman happens to find the right man, there is a general expectation that he is supposed to ask for her hand in marriage. What this means is he is supposed to sit down and ask her parents’ permission before proposing. Now with the current dating scene, it’s become apparent that this generation can take matters into their own hands. But that doesn’t mean tradition doesn’t have a place in the world today.


While relationships have become more complicated, the traditions around marriage are still the same. A woman and a man fall in love, he wants to marry her, he asks the father for her hand. While this might seem too traditional, and even unnecessary, asking for someone’s hand in marriage is one of the few traditions left in the world of relationships. Although the image of a man asking another man to marry his daughter isn’t always appealing, that isn’t the situation many people find themselves in. In many cases, the boyfriend will ask both parents for their blessing. Or it could be a single parent. Maybe she only has grandparents or extended family. Maybe it’s a woman asking for another woman’s hand in marriage, which is really breaking tradition. All family dynamics and relationships are different, and asking for someone’s hand in marriage isn’t so cut and dry as it might appear. Love and family come in a lot of forms.


Many of these talks aren’t even directed towards asking the parents if they can marry their daughter. Parents want to know the expectations and goals of the person who loves their child. They want to know that there is a plan in place and that this person will be decent and kind toward their daughter and the rest of her family. This act is making sure that in this crazy world of dating, the person who loves the daughter intends to do what’s best for them as a couple. Without these discussions, there could be a lack of trust and respect between the family and future family member. For families, trust is everything, so this could have a significant impact on how the family will accept the fiancé.


The world of romance is a complicated and messy place. Finding the person you want to spend forever with is difficult enough in  today’s dating scene. The concept of asking for a daughter’s hand in marriage is dated, but there is some merit in establishing trust with a person that is entering someone’s family. Marriage should be forever, and establishing a connection with family is something that is just as important today as it was when this tradition began.


Olivia Orme is a twenty-two-year-old recent graduate of Wofford College. She majored in English and Government, but her true passion is creative writing. She has written poetry for the last decade, but has plenty of opinions on lifestyle, beauty, and body positivity. She is currently a kindergarten teaching assistant, but wants to go back to graduate school for a Master’s in English. She aspires to write a children’s book series someday. You can always find her with a cup of coffee, or talking about Riverdale.


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