Marriage Proposal Etiquette - Discussion on Traditions
Marriage proposal etiquette can sometimes be very complicated, but it is important because you do not want to start your lifelong commitment with your loved one having hurt anyone's feelings.
Your loved one's parents have certain expectations when it comes to their son or daughter getting married.
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You may not agree with the expectations or you may feel uncomfortable trying to fill these expectation; however, if you follow the family's etiquette, it could help you avoid many conflicts in the future.
By the time you decide that you want to marry your loved one, you should have an idea of the family's history and background, as these often determine the marriage proposal etiquette you will have to follow when proposing marriage.
In certain African countries, the culture of the family requires that your parents arrange a get together with your loved one's parents. The families get to know each other over a couple of days to make sure that the families will be compatible and that the couple will bring peace and harmony to the family. Your parents will then ask your loved one's parents if they would agree and be happy with the union. It is considered a show of disrespect to both families if this tradition is not followed to the letter, and some families have disowned their children because of this disrespect.
In western civilization, the marriage proposal etiquette is not quite as stringent, but following the right etiquette would, in the very least, gain the respect of your loved one's friends and family. Traditionally, western culture requires you to ask your loved one's father if he would allow you to take his daughter's hand in marriage. Most fathers consider this marriage proposal etiquette a sign of great courage and bravery, which is an important grounding for a father and son-in-law relationship.
In ancient Chinese culture, correct marriage proposal etiquette is to ask someone to act as a go between or agent that would take gifts to your loved one's family and share with them your intention to get married. If these gifts are received favorably, your and your loved one's dates of birth are obtained and placed on an ancestral altar for three days. If life for both families runs smoothly with no negative events, then the agent would return to your loved one's family and request for the families to meet. Only at this point does the engagement become official.
In some cases, if this etiquette is not followed, the families will refuse to acknowledge the union between you and your loved one, and you will not be considered married in the eyes of the family.
Most marriages will need the support and love from their families at some point in the future, and this could be made extremely difficult if anyone is offended or hurt before the marriage has even begun. Finding out beforehand how you are expected to propose marriage according to family tradition and marriage proposal etiquette will help you to plan the proposal well and still keep both the families and your loved one happy.
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