Call me old fashioned, but I still feel that this is a necessary step in the process. It shows class and lets her family know that you value them. You are going to be spending the rest of your life with these people. They become your family. It’s best to start out on the right foot.
The first time I met the man that would become my father-in-law, it was pretty much like the start of a country song or a bad high school movie. The man had a firearm sitting on the steps to the second floor right as you walk into the house, plain as day, can’t be missed…Okay then…message received. Now, I am fully aware that this is real life and the man isn’t going to actually shoot me, but he did know I was coming and still left the shotgun out.
Anyway, after those first awkward 15 minutes or so of meeting my girlfriend’s parents and making small-talk, he went to grab the gun to put it away. I know my firearms, so hoping to build a bond over mutual interests, I ask if I may hold the weapon for myself. It was a fairly interesting piece, a nice old Model 12 for those that care, and I cycled the action a few times. Call me whatever you want, but I’m not an idiot. I was just checking to see if it was actually loaded.
In any case, my first encounter with her family went very well. My future father-in-law took us fishing, and we had a great day on the water. My future mother-in-law made a blueberry pie, my favorite, and I complimented her excellent cooking and baking. Then I made plans with her father for me to return the favor, and I invited him to come hunting with me in my home state.
When I asked my father-in-law if I could marry his only daughter, we had only been dating for 6 months, and we had loaded guns in the truck (I take back what I said about not being an idiot). Now, I know the man wasn’t actually going to shoot me, but I was really asking for it wasn’t I? He was reluctant to say yes. We weren’t together very long, and she had been engaged to someone else only about a year prior. Still, I think he admired that I had the decency to ask and that I was willing to accept a “no” if he didn’t feel the timing was right. He knew I loved her, though, and after some advice, some threats, and the world’s longest awkward and terrifying pause, he gave me his blessing.
There are some lessons to be learned here, so here are some helpful tips:
First, when asking, be confident and assertive, but not cocky. Confidence is attractive. Cocky is obnoxious. If you don’t know the difference, you are probably a cocky douche. Nobody likes a cocky douche. Let him know that the man that is going to take care of his little girl can handle the job.
He may ask you if you have a plan for your immediate future with her; i.e. where you will live, job situation, etc. You had best have a plan. Having that plan will help you with point number one, being confident. It is ok to show that you are a little nervous. You are about to take one of the largest responsibilities of his life away from him (Think you can handle that? If not, you better step back and regroup). Being a little nervous shows that you care about his opinion and that you’re at least a little scared he will say no. If you are worried he will say no, it is quite obvious that you care about her. He’s going to want to see that.
Timing is everything. I had just shown my future father-in-law a great time over a long weekend of successful waterfowl hunting, and we were both in a great mood. If I had asked him before the weekend, that would pretty much have set the tone for the next three days, good or bad.
Be prepared that he may say no. He may think that timing is wrong like my father-in-law did. He may not like that fact that you got inappropriately drunk at Thanksgiving, and he wants to make you squirm for a bit. Or he just may not like you. If he says no, man up and accept it. Do not whine, beg or panic. Men do not whine, beg or panic. However, do ask him what his reasoning is and take it as an opportunity to make a better you. Just because he said no doesn’t mean it is the end of your relationship with his daughter. Improve yourself and ask again when the time is right.
And above all, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, ASK FOR HIS DAUGHTER’S HAND IN MARRIAGE WITH LOADED GUNS IN THE TRUCK…fucking idiot..
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