I was inspired to write this post, as I recently read an article titled “If he asks your dad before he asks you, you shouldn’t be marrying him” by Rebecca Reid.
“I love my dad, he’s a truly wonderful man. But he doesn’t own me, and who I marry isn’t his choice, it’s mine. I value his opinion, but it’s just an opinion.”
I think we can all agree that our parents do not own us, however modernising the historical context of marriage is not a good enough reason (in my opinion), for my future husband not to speak to my parents about his intention to marry me. I consider that it is important to remember that none of us dropped out of the sky and became adults all by ourselves. We were all raised and taken care of by our parents or caregivers and that alone is reason enough to consider them important when making certain life decisions.
“Asking my dad for permission to marry me would have been toeing that ancient line, following a rule that’s as outdated at doubloons and jerkins. You might as well discuss dowries or numbers of sheep and goats at that point.”
As a Nigerian woman who was born in London, the concept of the dowry in marriage is not an outdated tradition for many like me, however dependant on your family values is dependant on how this will be enforced. I personally do not like the concept of being bought and therefore I would prefer for money not to exchange hands in that manner. I would much rather prefer to let the money go to something tangible such as the wedding reception, our honeymoon or our first home, rather than rewarding my parents and myself financially, just because I was born and because of how many degrees I have managed to obtain.
From my experience, not speaking to a woman’s parents about your intentions to marry her is just not the thing to do within Nigerian families. It is actually rather insulting and if you have experience of Nigerian families, know that they will let their annoyance be known both publicly and privately. Most parents would not easily forget that you chose to disregard them in this manner, are you ready to start your impending marriage with her parents baring secret malice towards you?
I believe that both parents should be consulted by a woman’s future fiancé, why? Because every individual on earth has two parents. I know that families these days are very complex so it is for you to establish from your future wife who she regards as her caregivers, it is important to establish who she holds in high regard.
If you are happy to get married without your parents blessing this could result in them not attending your wedding. I remember vividly telling my mother that there is nothing that would make me excuse her from attending my wedding. Being the person that I am, I know that I am able to make sound decisions and that includes accepting or refusing a marriage proposal. Therefore if for some reason my parents weren’t keen on my impending nuptials, my expectation would be that they would still attend my wedding. Why? Because they are my parents and they are meant to love me regardless, even if they do not agree with my life choices.
Overall, thinking about Rebecca’s article I think her focus is too much on the concept of permission. How about we reframe it to be that, he consults with her parents. Everyone is an adult and therefore I would expect that he would be able to hold himself accountable as a man and assert his intentions to my parents. I would not feel comfortable accepting a man’s proposal if he had not spoken to my parents especially because he would have already been well acquainted with my family prior to this.
You don’t have to agree with me, and I’m sure you can can gather that I do not agree with Rebecca. We all set our own rules based on our cultural and religious norms and values. It is very common for us to accept some traditions and reject others and also reinvent them. We move with the times and decide on the customs that we are most comfortable with practicing. Thinking into the future, I will not be a happy mother if my children did not discuss with me their intention to get married. I would actually be quite hurt and wonder why they wouldn’t want to tell me about such a monumental life decision.
My Final Thoughts:
- Start as you mean to go on, trust and respect are two very difficult things to get back once they are lost. The journey to marriage will have various trials, if you can avoid adding upset and annoyance from her parents to the mix then do so.
- It is not so much about asking for permission but letting your intentions be know whilst acknowledging the two people who invested so much into her becoming the woman who you fell in love with.
- If you wish to marry me you have to talk to both of my parents prior to organising the logistics of the proposal. Why? Because there are questions that my parents will most likely ask you that will have you will have to consider if you are truly ready to commit to me for a lifetime. My mother is also a God fearing woman, which means that she will provide him with a much needed spiritual interrogation.
- I want a Private Proposal. I love my family and friends but I just quite simply do not need them there. I want to share this intimate event with just myself and my future husband. I do not want to get caught up in the hype or at all feel pressurised. Plus I am a very visual person and I would hate to have everyone’s iPhones blocking the video recording.
Let me know your thoughts and experiences on this topic, until next time.