You finally found her; the Chinese woman of your dreams. The love of your life. The next step is both exciting and terrifying. Exciting, because it is your dream come true; scary, because you’re not sure how your parents will accept you. Your Chinese girlfriend is very open-minded, but she is also still a very filial daughter; When proposing to her, you must remember that the approval of her parents is of the utmost importance to her wife.
Her parents still come from an older generation of Chinese who may still place a higher value on arranged marriages and perhaps not much on romantic love. This means that while your proposal can be as romantic as you can get, and even after your girlfriend has happily accepted it, the true success of your proposal will still depend on your parents’ acceptance.
Chances are, the first time you meet your now-fiancée’s parents is when you formally ask for her hand in marriage. You may have made the proposal to your girlfriend of a traditional Western nature with your creativity, but the proposal you will make to her parents will have to be traditionally Chinese.
Usually, a formal Chinese engagement takes place with a visit from the man and his family to the girl and her family. The date of the visit is carefully chosen with the use of feng shui. A dowry is given – the exact amount and other gifts are often determined by the girl’s parents. And then both parties agree on a wedding date, which is usually set within a year of the engagement.
Ideally, the first time your girlfriend’s parents meet you won’t also be the first time they find out about you! In any case, the fact that her daughter is dating a foreigner often means that they won’t expect their “engagement visit” or engagement proposal to strictly follow Chinese customs.
Still, you should do your best to follow some of your traditional engagement practices. This will definitely win you a lot of points with their parents and hopefully help you win their approval.
So when you finally meet the parents, take them some gifts. Ask your fiancée which ones they will appreciate the most, the traditional ones and the ones that also represent your own culture; They will appreciate your sincere efforts to adopt some Chinese customs, as well as unique foreign gifts.
Traditionally, the man offers the woman a piece or pieces of jewelry, not necessarily an engagement ring, but these still symbolize the official engagement. After he has given his fiancée her engagement ring/jewelry gift, he should start the conversation about her intentions with her parents.
Sometimes they themselves will start the conversation with questions about their motivations, plans, goals, and background. So when you initiate the conversation yourself, and if they don’t ask you any questions, you should offer this information.
The most important thing any parent will want to know is that their daughter is loved and well cared for. This is exactly where he should start his proposal speech, but first thank them for their hospitality. Let them know how he feels about her daughter, that they don’t have to worry about her well-being and her future, and her intention to marry her. Typically, you’ll address his parents as “uncle” and “aunt.”
Offer them information about your job/career, your plans for the future after you get married. Above all, knowing that you are hardworking, have a stable job, and have the right priorities will be enough to assure them that the future of their daughter and her future grandchildren will be secure.
And then let them know what date you and your fiancée have decided on for the wedding. Again, it will be best if you follow Chinese customs and, with your fiancée, determine an auspicious date for the wedding using feng shui. Or you can even wait until the meeting with your parents so that they can participate in choosing the wedding date.
In the event that you and your fiancée have decided not to schedule a wedding right away because you both feel that you are not yet ready/stable enough to start a family, you should also explain this to your future in-laws. While they may feel that the wedding should take place as soon as possible, they will also appreciate your practical wisdom.
As long as they can see the sincerity of your intentions and how much you really love your daughter and your genuine desire to care for her, the parents of your beloved Chinese will have no reason not to give you two their blessing.