Quite Possibly the Best Line Ever In the Whole World

It was November of 1993.  Hubs and I were in luuuuv, and he was ready to pop the question.  But he is a good Southern boy, and he knew, therefore, that he had to ask my daddy first.

Hubs isn’t easily intimidated by things.  In fact, people who first meet him sometimes find him intimidating.  He takes things exactly as they come, with a level head, and he almost never over-reacts or worries. 

Except this time.  The poor guy was a nervous wreck about talking to my dad.  I’m the only daughter, the first-born, and my dad and I always have been close.  AND Dad had a tendency for giving the boys I dated a hard time (I had shared all the stories with Hubs).  He knew this might be hard. 

Because Hubs is a smart man, he chose the big moment carefully.  My parents had come to visit me at college, and Hubs took my dad to a Razorback basketball practice.  This automatically put them on common ground, and (best of all) eliminated the need for that great killer of courage, eye contact.

As they sat there together, the thumping of the basketballs and the squeaking of the rubber-soled shoes echoing all around them, Hubs summoned his nerve.

"Mr. [maiden name]," he started, "I think you know that Shannon and I have become very serious."

My dad silently nodded.

"And I love her very much."

More silence.  Poor Hubs.

"And I’d like to ask your permission to marry her."

Dad didn’t speak for a minute.  As he always does when he’s reflecting (and my dad is usually reflecting), he gently rubbed his upper lip with his index finger.  His eyes stayed on the basketball players in front them.  He let the silence linger in the air just as long as he possibly could.

Then he spoke.

"Let me ask you a question."

Another pause.

"For 21 years, Shannon’s mother and I have prayed every single day about the man she would marry.  Every day."

Yep, another pause.

"What I want to ask you is, are you the man worthy of all that prayer?"

(May I just say how thankful I am that the world is structured the way it is?  If I had been the one required to ask such a question, and I’d received such an answer, I probably would’ve started crying.)

But Hubs said the only thing a confident young man with the world at his feet could say:  "Yes sir, I think I am!"

The conversation was easy and gracious from then on, as my dad gave Hubs his blessing and encouraged him. 

I love that story.  It makes for a few good chuckles when we tell it now, but it still–14 years later–warms me to the core.  I treasure that Hubs loved me enough to humble himself willingly.  I treasure that my dad loved me enough to make it hard.  I love that those two men are such good friends now. 

And you can bet my husband is saving that line to use himself, when some sparkly-eyed boy comes sniffing around our daughter.  I pity the boy.

70 thoughts on “Quite Possibly the Best Line Ever In the Whole World

  1. Gego says:

    I, too, love that story. When are you going to post the location where he popped the question? He is a creative guy, if I do say so myself. Love y’all, Gego

  2. Staci at Writing and Living says:

    Aw, great line.
    When my bil asked my dad for my sister’s hand, my sister happened to walk into the room. My dad looked at my sister and said, “What do you think about this?” Not quite as touching, but good for a family laugh nearly 30 years later.

  3. Glo says:

    What an absolutely precious storyβ™₯ I will definitely be asking my future daughter in laws and son in laws…..beautiful…just beautiful….God Bless Youβ™₯

  4. Kathy Gillen/ lessons from the laundry says:

    It’s great to have such stories to pass on, not only to your daughter, but your sons as well.
    My husband’s story is that he was supposed to ask my father on the golf course. My dad ended up having the lowest round of his life. Included in the foursome was the minister who would marry us. My husband said to the minister, “I just can’t ask him now. It could mess up his game.” Needless to say, my dad shot a 79 and forever respected my husband for waiting to ask after the game. We’re working on 19 years and they still love to golf together.

  5. Activities Coordinator says:

    The first time I took my husband home to meet my parents, my Dad very jovially took him out to his shed. The conversation was (I have been told) very cordial, but one of Dad’s guns was out on the work table where he had been cleaning it. Message given. Message received.

  6. Coralie says:

    Fantastic line. I’m keeping that one for my own husband.
    The line my Daddy used was: “It’s all fine and good to say you love my daughter, but tell me how you define love.”

  7. GiBee says:

    This story was wonderful … but deeper within, lies a greater point … we as Christian parents must begin praying for our child’s spouse at birth, and continue on until our very own death!
    We pray each night for Hunter’s future wife, as well as for her parents. This world and the people in it are changing rapidly from when I was young, and I just don’t know how we can raise our kids without leaning on Christ in prayer!
    Thanks for sharing this Shannon!

  8. Prisca says:

    I just made my husband come in and read your post– we’ve got two beautiful little girls at home and their daddy is a preacher. You can be sure he loved YOUR daddy’s response!

  9. kris says:

    My dad is also a thinker, a lawyer and an engineer, and retired navy man. Intimidating. My husband got a lot of that ‘thinking silence’ before my dad replied with “you do, huh?” then more silence, and lots of questions about the future. Finally he couldn’t think of any more questions, shook hubs hand, and said “sounds like you’ve got a plan”. Very buisness like, I’m sure hubs was relieved to finish that conversation πŸ™‚

  10. Christy says:

    What a great dad and a great challenge. It is also a reminder that I need to be praying daily for my 20 month old daughters husband as well.

  11. Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts says:

    Wow — I, too, am glad I am not the one who had to ask the question! But that is a wonderful line and something for future husbands-to-be to think about — I need to pass this on to my sons.
    And it convicts me to pray more. I have prayed for their future mates often but not every day.

  12. kel says:

    Awww… so sweet. My hubs had THE talk with my dad. Hubs secretly drove an hour to my parents house, and arrived ashen-faced. My dad thought he was sick or something. πŸ˜‰ The conversation went well, but neither will spill the beans on what was said. It was a secret man talk.

  13. melbs says:

    due to the fact that, my ex-husband never asked my parents for their blessings, when my now husband and i were discussing marriage…i told him he had to go to my parents for their permission. he did, only because i asked him to. after he went to my parents house, he came directly to my house. with dinner. he got down on his knees, still holding the carry out box. asked me to marry him. i said “yes”, of course. he replied “good, let’s eat!” so romantic!? i still laugh when i think about it.

  14. Dana says:

    That is the sweetest thing. You should feel very lucky (and I’m sure you do) to have such wonderful men in your life. πŸ™‚ (and they are lucky to have you)

  15. Florinn says:

    I know its “tradition” but I don’t view it as romantic I view it as a throwback to when women were property. My DH & I called my parents together to tell them we were engaged. I was not “given away” at my wedding either, because I was not “owned” in the first place, except by God who gave his blessing at my wedding ceremony.
    I do pray daily that my children will marry good people, however ultimately it will be their decision, not mine or my husband’s.

  16. Melanie says:

    Sweet Daddy and Hubs! I met a mom on our soccer team a few years ago whose Daddy literally sat on the porch with his shotgun. (she is our age) Her husband was the only guy brave enough to come up on the porch, so she married him.

  17. Ann Kroeker says:

    I am totally printing this out and handing it to my husband to memorize.
    Wow.
    You have two strong, godly men assigned to critical roles in your life. What blessings!
    Thanks for sharing a window into their personalities with us.

  18. Misty Dawn says:

    What a fabulous story! Thanks for sharing it!
    My husband didn’t ask my dad. He took me to a racetrack to propose, I went to the bathroom, and when I came back and went to take a drink, there was something in my glass. It was the ring. When I called and told my dad about it, he sat silent for a moment and asked “Are ya sure about this Mist?” I replied “Of course, Dad” and his reply was “Well, he’s already putting you in danger – you could have choked on that ring!” LOL

  19. Diane says:

    What a beautiful story. What a beautiful example…..I have been praying for my son’s future, unknown wives for just a short time–a friend shared with me that she had prayed for her future daughter-in-law since the time of her son’s birth–I grabbed the idea and ran with it…a little late…but better than never. It is such a great gift to give to our children…no matter their age.
    Stunning story! Thanks for sharing it.
    Diane

  20. Jane says:

    I am so happy my dh asked my father. My father wasn’t nearly as eloquent as yours, but our story is just as meaningful to us. Now, my father in law and an uncle weren’t as lucky to have this conversation and I know that it hurt them. Someone needs to get the word out to all young men that this is not a dyng tradition but something that must be done! The best way is probably reminding the mothers of sons, so thanks for spreading the word!

  21. Nicki says:

    LOVED this story, Shannon! So sweet! We don’t pray as frequently as we should about our children’s future spouses. It’s definitely something we need to get more consistent with.
    When my Hubby asked my daddy, Daddy replied, “Are you sure?” HA! I guess Daddy knew what Hubs would be up against, marrying stong-minded me. (I’ve gotten better with age, and growth in my faith, though. I can still be strong-minded, but now, I just don’t let my mouth repeat everything my mind is thinking.) πŸ™‚

  22. Emily says:

    My sis-in-law asked me a similar question. She said, “What makes you the best girl in the world for my brother?” I think I did cry and stammer and say something about how I loved him and stuff. It didn’t turn out nearly as nice as your story.

  23. camila says:

    This is amazing. I must say I did cry. I think you should host a carnival where everyone tells the story of their proposal, so I can cry some more.

  24. Betsy says:

    When my hubs asked my Dad, my Dad replied, “Son, I love her more than anything in this world, and I would do anything for her and her happiness. If you don’t feel that way, and you can’t promise me you’ll cherish her like I do, I’m asking you to walk away.”
    Hubs reassured him, and 14 years later, things are still good!

  25. Betsy says:

    When my hubs asked my Dad, my Dad replied, “Son, I love her more than anything in this world, and I would do anything for her and her happiness. If you don’t feel that way, and you can’t promise me you’ll cherish her like I do, I’m asking you to walk away.”
    Hubs reassured him, and 14 years later, things are still good!

  26. Wendy says:

    Hands down the best question to ask a potential son-in-law. What a wonderful father you were blessed with (and hubby, too!)
    We also pray for our children’s future husbands and wife, and my children know it.
    I shared this with my husband and he agreed that we’ll be asking the same thing of our daughters’ future suitors, and asking it in reverse to our son when he wants to marry. Since God saw fit to entrust them to us, we don’t want to hand that responsibility over to just anybody. πŸ™‚

  27. JCK says:

    What a lovely story! This will be treasured in your family, I’m sure, for generations. And thanks for sharing it with us. Somehow, I’m always a sucker for daddy’s who look after their little girls!

  28. lisa says:

    I LOVE these stories! Thanks for sharing this. I’ll pass along to my husband your Dad’s One Important Question to Possible Sons-in-Law…

  29. Liz C says:

    If I recall correctly, my dad’s comment to my husband was, “No deposit, no return.”
    πŸ™‚
    We’re heading into year 12, and have no intentions of cashing out.

  30. Marc says:

    Your Hub is a better man than I am. I probably would have lost my voice. Maybe I can use that line when my granddaughter gets serious.

  31. Karen F says:

    Our daughter is our youngest, at age 5 she has three older brothers – much older and an FBI agent for a daddy. You can be sure that the boy who chooses to cross paths with the three big brothers and the daddy carrying a gun will be a keeper – I say we lock him inside and hold him down – I think there may only be one!
    I tell that humorously, but for all my kids I’ve prayed and prayed. Yes, for their families as well. We all know how much becoming a part of another family can be trying on a marriage. I so want my kids to adore their in-laws too. Just as much as I want to be adored by my kid’s spouses!

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