Thursday, July 5, 2012

A perfect arrangement

Mr. and Mrs. V. are an amazing couple.

They've been married for 62 years.

Both were from Sicily and it was an arranged marriage.

He came to America when he was 18 and served in the Army until the end of WWII.

He was 23 and she was 15 when they married.

He's now 85 and she's 77.

They raised three children; all are college graduates with careers and families of their own.

Mr. V. was also a successful business man.

He now has advanced Alzheimer's disease.

She remains by his side.

"It breaksa my heart to see him this way, but we've had a great life together and he's been a great husband and father. I have no regrets over the life we shared together, we were so blessed," she says while gently stroking his hair.

Until well into the late 1950's, most Sicilian marriages were either formally arranged by the parents or permitted only with consent, unless the couple eloped.

"The intra-generational relationship of the family was felt to be more valued, initially, than the marital relationship. The whole purpose of a marriage was to have a family. Even if the couple did not love each other at first, a greater understanding between the two would develop, aided by their often similar socioeconomic, religious, political, and cultural backgrounds."

Proponents also felt as if marriages based on just romance were doomed to failure.

The divorce rate was also quite low. Nobody wanted the two families to have a problem. The only choice was to keep the marriage going.

I know a  lot of Mediterranean marriages were also accompanied by the presence, in the background, of a mistress. Opponents often site this as an example of the need for attraction and romance in a marital relationship.

I can see both sides of the argument.

Regardless, it's clear that Mr. and Mrs. V. were a perfect match.

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