Having your parents' approval and support can give you a sense of peace.

How to Marry Without Parental Consent

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Many modern American couples feel that the tradition of asking a woman’s parent for their consent to the marriage is old-fashioned and demeaning, according to a poll Posted in the September 18, 2012 edition of the “Huffington Post.” That does not the change to legal requirement for minor marital couples or the Islamic requirement for the bride’s guardian’s consent. In some cases, there are workarounds.

U.S. Legal Requirement

In most U.S. states, any bridal couple under the age of 18 must either obtain parental consent for the marriage or get permission from a judge before a marriage takes place, and some states, like Maine and Montana, require court and parental permission. Alabama and Indiana impose an additional legal fee to marry. If you live in Mississippi, you must be 21 to marry without parental permission. Some states, like Maryland and Arkansas, will waive the parental consent requirement, if you provide a doctor’s statement that you are pregnant or have had a child.

Islamic Law

Muslim women must obtain parental consent to marry, unless they are Sunnis adhering to the Hanafi School, according to Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, a SunniPath Academy teacher with Qibla.com. The Hanafi tradition allows adult Muslim women to enter into a marriage contract without parental approval, but only if both bride and groom are of the same status and are competent to make determinations for themselves. All other Islamic traditions require permission of the bride’s parents before the marriage contract can be executed. Ansari and Shaykh Muhammads Al-Munajjid with Islamqa.com agree that parental consent is required from the bride’s parents and suggest that the couple obtain a religious official, friend or other persuasive individual to advocate for the couple until her parents agree.

Christian and Jewish Couples

Neither the Torah nor the Christian Bible require parents to give consent for a woman to marry, although several examples exist in the Bible where parental approval is sought, such as Jacob asking for Rachel’s hand in Genesis 29:15-17 and Boaz asking Ruth’s closest kinsman for permission to marry her in Ruth 4:1-8. Christian and Jewish religious leaders recommend that bridal couples ask for parental blessing, but acknowledge that the couple may follow through with the wedding, if parents do not approve. They do recommend, however, that the bridal couple listens to what parents have to say to ensure that the couple has considered the all-important concerns before the couple marries.

Building Your Marriage

Sometimes, a couple wishing to marry cannot obtain parental approval, for whatever reason. Perhaps the parents object to the prospective son-in-law’s cultural or religious background, or his job -- or lack of one, or for other subjective reasons. Your relationship with your new husband is what will determine how successful your marriage will become, affirm both the pastor of La Vista Church of Christ and Sara Esther Crispe at Chabad. It is a great blessing when parents approve, but in the end, it depends on how you and your new spouse interact and build your family.

About the Author

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.

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