Many couples don't ask the bride’s father for his blessing, but if you did and he said “no,” you are stuck with only a few choices. You can postpone your plans with the hope that her father will change his mind as he gets to know you better. Alternatively, you can disregard the lack of blessing and move forward, while continuing to hope he comes on board someday.
Listen and Consider
Your girlfriend’s parents love her and want to see her happy, but you might not be the man that they dreamed their darling girl would marry. Give them a chance to express their concerns and consider their words carefully, advises Liz Moorhead with the wedding planning organization A Practical Wedding. You might not convince her dad to give his blessing, but he might feel better knowing that you have heard him and considered his words. Thank her parents for their time and agree to continue thinking about what you heard.
Honor Her Parents
Thank her father for raising such a wonderful and precious woman as your girlfriend. Assure him that you are not trying to denigrate his beliefs or his love for his daughter, advises marriage and family therapist Marie Hartwell-Walker in the PsychCentral.com article "When Your Parents Disapprove of Your Partner." Find areas of agreement, such as shared values, traditions and beliefs. This might not change her dad’s feelings, but it can’t hurt. Don’t downplay cultural and religious differences that could pose a challenge in your marriage.
Let her dad know if your girlfriend agreed to marry you. Don’t keep it a secret, suggests Hartwell-Walker, because it assumes that you are ashamed of your choice or there is a reason to hide your activities. Together, you might express your solidarity as a team and your willingness to marry without his blessing, if necessary. Your girlfriend could let her dad know that her new life with you will be her new priority and ask him to understand her choice, suggests Moorhead. She can affirm that she might make other choices as an adult that they won’t agree with, but she is willing to accept the good and bad consequences of her choice.
Be a Team
Don’t take sides with her parents or your girlfriend, suggests Hartwell-Walker. Tell her parents that you respect their decision and can respectfully disagree with her father’s choice not to give his blessing. Allow your girlfriend to deal with her parents, supporting her and listening to her concerns when you aren’t with her parents. Work together to build the best and strongest relationship you can so your life together has a good chance to succeed.
Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.