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How to ask the Polish parents for her hand in Marriage?


Chrysalis 5 | 30
17 Dec 2010 #1
Hey all. Love the forum, you guys are tough and honest. So, let's see if I'm worthy of knowing the truth. I love a 100% Polish woman, born in Poland but emigrated to my country. She can't wait for me to propose, and I'm excited too. I have money for the ring, and her family has agreed to pay for the wedding (much to her sister's chagrin, she's hugely jealous). I have not proposed yet but everyone is waiting for me to go ahead.

I've heard that for the Polish, it's a cultural norm that the man asks the father for his daughter's hand in Marriage. And then she joins his family, period. True? In this case, her father left 20 years ago and she has no idea where he is. So if I were to keep form, I'd have to ask her mother, correct? I'm pretty sure I remember my beloved actually saying she wanted me to do this.

Her mom seems to love me, but she's hyper dramatic and their family seems to always be turning on each other when something goes wrong. They've accepted me, so I'm fair game for this now. Her mom is not above criticizing me behind my back, or setting up totally unfair tests in secret that if I fail, prove I'm not "serious". We've been together less than one year.

Mama is a hard-drinking, hard-cussing, hard-working salt of the earth. She invested smartly and has a huge house, which impresses other Polish people in the area. She also loves to party, and not-so-secretly resents her daughters for making her become responsible. At dinner, Mama is swearing and blaspheming like a sailor while we eat from gold rimmed plates under the watchful eye of John Paul II's portrait.

Mama also has a lot of monthly expenses, and expensive tastes. She has trouble living within her means, which sometimes spills into her asking her daughters for money. Mama's always talking about going back to Poland in 10 years, but she's made so many bad investments she'll have to declare bankruptcy to escape them and basically flee my country. Anyway, I know that it won't be long after marriage that Mama will be asking *me* for money, for the same reason: so she doesn't have to dip into her savings. I see this trick played often now, pressure going back and forth between her family members.

This makes me slightly ill. But I'm not marrying (or financing) Mama. It's all about my beloved and bringing her into my family. Not me joining hers.

Oh, and the sister is an insane alcoholic sociopath. Much crazier than Mama, actually more like the worst of both parents. But my beloved got the best, and I love her for it.

Anyway, I expect that I really do need to ask her mother before I propose. How should I do this?

It would be great if I can survive the conversation without her issuing ridiculous threats or ultimatums, to which I simply cannot and will not bow down. I believe women want a man who can stand up to them, and not just give them whatever they ask. So, I'm starting to think that her mom's tests will at some point have to come down to this: me declaring to her mom that she should be happy I have the backbone to stand my ground and not let myself be controlled by female emotions.

On the other hand, I don't want to just "mouth off" and have my insolence really hurt me many years down the road. So I have to strike a very delicate balance and I'm just not sure what to do. Strong in the face of direct challenge, but not disrespectful. Mama is currently on her 3rd husband. He's a nice, quiet, submissive type of guy because Mama is a force of nature. But I will not bend to her. I know that if I roll over, she will destroy me. As for him, he seems to like me and approve but speaks very little English.

Basically, what worries me here is that face-to-face we have a great relationship. But in private she questions me and seems a little too interested in my finances. Any past favors I do are forgotten when she devises a new test for me, at which point my beloved simply tells her mom what she wants to hear.

But when it comes to this conversation, it will be just Mama and me.

What do you think I should say, and what do you think would work best for a woman with her mom's personality? Not only do I want her enthusiastic permission, but I also want to counter any threats or unpleasant suggestions with my superior manners, strength, breeding. To make it clear her daughter is marrying up, regardless of whether or not I ever succumb to Mama's pressure.

For example, I could suggest that I understand that Mama (and for that matter, psycho sister) are nervous that my beloved will be "leaving home" to join my family. And that I "understand the real issues, which I promise to address like a real man" (while avoiding any response to threats, outlandish expectations, etc)...

Thanks for any comments or criticism!
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
17 Dec 2010 #2
Congratulations!

I've heard that for the Polish, it's a cultural norm that the man asks the father for his daughter's hand in Marriage.

It is kind of old fashioned and up to the individual but I consider it proper form and I would ask the head of the family, in this case it sounds like the mother.

This makes me slightly ill. But I'm not marrying Mama.

Agreed, I think ever family has their skeletons and negative aspect.

Anyway, I expect that I really do need to ask her mother before I propose. How should I do this?

Dress nicely, bring flowers and chocolates (sweeten the deal) and ask.
Then ask her what kind of dowry she's willing to throw in for you, whatever she says double it :)

I want to survive this conversation without her issuing ridiculous threats or ultimatums, to which I simply cannot and will not bow down.

This is a bit vague, ridiculous threats? you are not going to live in the same house are you?
And why the hell would you be ruled by your mother-in-law? perhaps you are just nervous and thinking of the worst case scenario? although I would be wary of the mother asking for money in the future.

What do you think I should say, and what do you think would work best for a woman with her mom's personality?

Throw in a bottle of wine, make it short and sweet.

I also want to counter any threats or unpleasant suggestions with my superior manners, strength, breeding.

Again you are not being clear, what threats?

Mama (and for that matter, psycho sister) are nervous that my beloved will be "leaving home" to join my family.

Could it be possible that you are over analysing?
OP Chrysalis 5 | 30
17 Dec 2010 #3
SeanBM, thanks for the congrats and the thoughtful reply. You see right through to the core of my issue. I am indeed over-analyzing and there is no specific threat yet, per se. So yes, I am thinking of the worst case scenario and trying to work backwards from there. While I'd rather avoid getting into specifics (for all I know, her family or close friends could be members here at PF), it seems to be money driven. Like, so far I have evidence that Mama thinks it's better to lean on me to open my wallet before the womenfolk have to learn how to be responsible financially.

Fortunately, no, we won't be living in the same house. I thank the saints for that. And I will not be ruled by any woman, especially not my mother-in-law. So far my beloved is thrilled that I'm not the cowering type, as she is finding she can hide behind me in these matters.

Thanks for the specific recommendations about wine, chocolates etc. I guess I am expecting Mama to start making money demands right then and there. If so, my asking for dowry would be quite an interesting countering tactic!
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,443
17 Dec 2010 #4
stand your ground, follow SeanB's advice, make the visit nice and short, keep your manners intact. You can do it.

Good luck.
OP Chrysalis 5 | 30
17 Dec 2010 #5
Thanks, aphrodisiac..... great point about the time limit and deciding when to leave. How short is short? Like, 15 minutes?

Should I wear a suit, or is that overdoing it? One thing I have on my side is that Mama thinks I'm hot and flirts with me openly. So I could really go for the visual impact.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
17 Dec 2010 #6
It is a big step in a person's life,a life long commitment is scary, it is natural to over analyse in this exciting time, everyone does. Just think of your love.

The main issue is how to deal with the mother-in-law asking for money from you, all I can say is be polite and don't give her any.

It's easier for me to type than you to do, I know but it is the only fair thing to do.

And you're not living together, the mum has a nice big house and savings, so it doesn't sound like the mother is in that bad of situation.

How short is short? Like, 15 minutes?

I would say less, wear a suit, meet her, give her flowers and chocolates, let her open them and have a few and ask.
Then say that you are so happy you want to tell your fiancée immediately and run like the wind :)

You know I try to avoid staging things too much, in my life anyway, it never happens the way I play it in my head.
OP Chrysalis 5 | 30
17 Dec 2010 #7
Ahhh, you're right. Thanks. I rather wonder if the mum isn't grossly over-leveraged, but then who isn't these days I guess? She had it rough earlier in life, and I respect all hard working immigrants. It really is something amazing to go to a new country, learn their ways, and build a good life there with no head start, just willpower and discipline. (I wonder if I could do the same in Poland, what an amazingly beautiful but complex-sounding language!)

I would say less, wear a suit, meet her, give her flowers, chocolates let her open them and have a few and ask, then say that you are so happy you want to tell your fiancée immediately and run like the wind :)

Oh that's an excellent way to put it. What a great way to keep it short!! I'm feeling better already. I have a few really nice suits and will dress to the nines.
Ksysia 25 | 430
17 Dec 2010 #8
Hey all. Love the forum, you guys are tough and honest.

but you aren't...

what a lovely piece of literature - just be sure to remove the word Polish from this WASP story
Olaf 6 | 956
17 Dec 2010 #9
I've heard that for the Polish, it's a cultural norm that the man asks the father for his daughter's hand in Marriage.

That custom comes from the times when marriage was like a transaction and it was between the future husband and parents of the bride. There was negotiation of dowry and stipulating conditions. Like purchase. Out of this tradition you may do this, as a courtesy of course. But I would seriously reconsider any steps like that, it is 21st century, tradition is good, of course, if your fiance is traditional, but if she is more of a feminist and thinks that marriage is partnership based on equality, then it would be hypocritical and non-sense to follow this tradition. This is just my opinion, but maybe it'll help.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,443
17 Dec 2010 #10
but you aren't...

he is and maybe painfully so, so you cannot take it because he is saying like it is.

That custom comes from the times when marriage was like a transaction and it was between the future husband and parents of the bride.This is just my opinion, but maybe it'll help.

that is a really good point. Gone are the days when parents had tobe asked for permission, but if your finance is OK with the whole procedure, then go ahead. However, maybe it would be good to skip the whole visit at Mama's and you would save yourself some trouble;) and I like the preceptive description of the Polish immigrant family. I can see Mama sitting at the table and swearing while drinking an expensive drink lol. Classic.
Stu 12 | 522
17 Dec 2010 #11
maybe it would be good to skip the whole visit at Mama's

I have to agree with Olaf and aphrodisiac.

I didn't ask my mother-in-law for "permission". I asked my now wife whether she wanted to marry me ... I thought that would be more important than asking my mother-in-law whether she'd approve (since I had already noticed she kinda liked me anyway).

But after I asked my wife (in front of her mother), my mother-in-law said: "I'm glad that you asked and I approve ..." :D.
bimber94 7 | 254
17 Dec 2010 #12
Don't do it Chrys. Such a knot is difficult and expensive to untie. Live in sin. Nought wrong with that. I can just imagine your situation a few months after marriage when the niceties wear off. Mama demanding dosh for anything she fancies, sister in law needs money for drink....oh Gawd! Poor you. Mama grabs one of your legs, sister in law the other leg, and shake every penny out of your pockets. DDDOOONNN'T DDOOO IITTT!!!
DarrenM 1 | 77
17 Dec 2010 #13
And why the hell would you be ruled by your mother-in-law?

You've never been married have you?

;o)
Olaf 6 | 956
17 Dec 2010 #14
Maybe do it in a more modern style, for example why not invite them all to a nice fancy restaurant and then announce to the mother that you and her daughter are engaged [of course propose to her beforehand if you hadn't ;) but I think the proposal is strictly between you and the girl, not any parents at that point] and that you intend to marry her. That would not be asking for permission to marry but it is a nice gesture and I think it'd be well played.
Zed - | 195
17 Dec 2010 #15
Mickey Blue Eyes :-) (almost!)
bimber94 7 | 254
17 Dec 2010 #16
Chrysalis:
I'm not marrying (or financing) Mama

That's what YOU think! Famous last words. :-D

I know the type Chrys is talking about. Marry your beloved and you marry the family. IMHO there is no such thing as love (bah humbug); it's really a combination of basic lust and attachment.
OP Chrysalis 5 | 30
17 Dec 2010 #17
Ahh, thanks Ksysia. It's not a true PF thread until the insults start to fly. And I am protestant, so worlds are colliding here just a bit. As for my lady, she is serious about her career but isn't a feminist. She wants me in charge and didn't enter into a relationship with me until I took charge, but that means I bear more responsibility as well. And even though she's not "religious" per se, she did go to a Catholic university, and wants the kids raised Catholic. Which I have no problem with, though it also means extremely traditional marriage vows that she will be making in front of God and everyone, to submit to me and obey, and that I must always honor, protect, love, and lead her.

The night of my drinking/swearing story was quite interesting, after dinner we went to the family room, drank some more, grilled me some more with tough questions, and then got up and danced while playing some Polish popular songs on Youtube. At first I was a little bit unsure how to react and behave but I just trusted my instincts. Later on I learned that the tough talk, drinking, and dancing associated with a big family dinner isn't unusual. In some ways I really liked it actually. It showed they love her and were testing me to see how I would handle it.

And yeah, I do figure it's totally common sense that I'm marrying the family as well..... I just want to make sure I pay the proper respects on the front end, but at the same time, establish the proper boundaries so I'm not overwhelmed by all their natural "wildness" -- which I don't mean as an insult, not at all, there's no better word I figure.

Olaf, that's an interesting story about the dinner. The only real problem I see with that idea is her sister, who is always saying and doing unpredictable, embarrassing things because she's a raging, bitter alcoholic. If we're all at dinner, it's not a short meeting, and we're trapped basically during which the sister has the capacity to ruin things as she so often tries to do. In some ways it's amusing because I have both the brainpower and the balls to handle her, but on the other hand, I want to minimize any negative impact on this particular meeting... ultimately, my beloved is somewhere between traditional and modern so if I marry her I do need to ask.

The dowry negotiation concept hadn't even occurred to me. I wonder how I could spin this. It seemed the basic notion was that a large expensive wedding was in the works. There's also been talk of two weddings, one in my country, and one in a castle back in Poland. I did some reading and found that the castle wedding is something that's considered fashionable. Hmm. One issue here is that my beloved is almost like an outcast within her own family because they're such intense, dramatic, over-the-top people and she is a lot more mellow and conservative. So the family should be thrilled I'm taking her off their hands, but sometimes I wonder if they're a little worried they won't have her around to tease and manipulate anymore.

And bimber94, I'm thinking about what you said all the time! But I want children and my beloved is so special. However you're right, basically right now I'm testing her and wanting to see if things are so great because of niceties, or if it's because we're meant to be together. Yeah, I'm a romantic so I believe the latter, but my logical mind insists I not rush into this and put her (and her family) through the paces. Just as they are doing to me.
Ksysia 25 | 430
17 Dec 2010 #18
She wants me in charge

perv.
we're a Matriarchy, sorry, mate.
OP Chrysalis 5 | 30
17 Dec 2010 #19
My beloved cannot get enough of my sexual dominance. Yeah, I'm a perv, though I'm surprised you took my statement straight to the bedroom. Perhaps southern should chime in here with something about the insatiable hunger of Polki.

Personally, I think the strong feminine boils down to a cry for help, needing an even stronger man to step up. The problem is, there are so few of us who can. And those of us who do had better be GOOD men. Not just wannabe poseurs. Like her dad, apparently. My beloved is strong, and I am stronger. Just as it should be.

Truly, though, the notion of Matriarchy does make sense, Mary mother of Jesus and all that. I am crashing through the gates with a strong, compassionate hand. Obviously, the threat of unbridled feminism is another conversation entirely.
bimber94 7 | 254
18 Dec 2010 #20
Chrys, you can have children; just don't tie the Gordian knot. So-called illegitimacy is no longer taboo, especially if you'll be living west of Poland. That's what is known in the UK as a common law 'marriage'.

You're not in love. Nobody is/was. You, me and everyone else has merely felt lust+attachment.

my beloved is so special

Sentimental twaddle! Say that in seven years' time. Sorry if I'm a grumpy bastard but I'm a grumpy bastard.
I'll now leave this thread as I've said what I can. Hope this was helpful and good luck.
PS I'm sure you know the saying 'another sucker bites the dust'. Don't do it!
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
18 Dec 2010 #21
Mama is a hard-drinking, hard-cussing, hard-working salt of the earth.

Anyone believes this is something else than a troll is a retard.
mafketis 24 | 9,174
18 Dec 2010 #22
it's a cultural norm that the man asks the father for his daughter's hand in Marriage. And then she joins his family, period. True?

It's supposed to be a tradition but I've never heard of anyone actually doing that. Ask her first if she wants you to 'ask' the mother. Dowries are also pretty much a thing of the past.

And modern Polish women remain very much their parents' daughters after getting married, even if they're getting married to get away from said parents.

One of the leading causes of divorce in Poland (among cases I know about) is meddling in-laws (on both sides) trying to boss the couple around and causing conflicts of loyalty between parents and spouse.
Ksysia 25 | 430
18 Dec 2010 #23
Anyone believes this is something else than a troll is a retard.

sad but true. he might be testing a con story here. it seems to be working on anglophones.
southern 75 | 7,096
18 Dec 2010 #24
Perhaps southern should chime in here with something about the insatiable hunger of Polki.

Yes,I concur.But you tend to overanalyze like most Germanics.Polki for some reason are attracted more to the dark side than to rational issues.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,443
18 Dec 2010 #25
Anyone believes this is something else than a troll is a retard.

even if it is I am having a ball reading it lol
OP Chrysalis 5 | 30
19 Dec 2010 #26
No troll, but you've all given me some food for thought. Thanks to all. I'm sure I'll be back in future threads....
Olaf 6 | 956
20 Dec 2010 #27
we're a Matriarchy

Who's we? [the only option I think of is you and your lesbian partner, but maybe I missed something] ;)
Ksysia 25 | 430
20 Dec 2010 #28
you tend to overanalyze like most Germanics

only 1/8 blood. doesn't count.

I think of is you and your lesbian partner

can't you see this guys is a conman? he say's he's dominating, but... he's marrying into money... can't have both at once.
Olaf 6 | 956
20 Dec 2010 #29
he's marrying into money

Ok. There's a nice name for that, haha....
southern 75 | 7,096
20 Dec 2010 #30
In matriarchy the man must be very devaluated.


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