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by Abigail Van Buren

Old Custom of Asking Permission to Marry Is Fading Away

DEAR ABBY: The husbands of both my two daughters asked for my blessing prior to asking my girls to marry them. I felt what they did was respectful and it was very much appreciated. My wife felt the same way when I relayed the good news to her.

I believe this courtesy replaced what in the "olden days" was a request for permission from the father rather than a blessing and, in my opinion, is more appropriate. If I am correct in my assumption that "permission" has evolved to "blessing," I wonder if it would have been more appropriate for them to have asked my wife and me together for our blessing. Your thoughts? -- PROUD PAPA

DEAR PROUD PAPA: Men asked permission of fathers to marry their daughters in "olden days" because the daughters were considered property. They could not marry without their father's consent. Thankfully, those customs are long gone -- in western society, at least. Please stop second-guessing your sons-in-law, who both seem like gems to me. Many couples today forgo the courtesy altogether.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics