Eastern Cape couple who where never in love and got forced into an arranged marriage are still together after 60 years

Maro and George Koutsoudis, who hail from Cyprus and crossed paths in the Free State, embarked on a unique journey that led them to a Greek Orthodox wedding in Port Elizabeth, marking their diamond wedding anniversary.

Despite their union being arranged rather than a conventional love story, the couple’s enduring bond has withstood the trials and triumphs of 60 years of marriage, as they reflect on their remarkable journey.

Maro, 79, reminisced about their first encounter in September 1963 when George visited Wepener with his family.

Recalling the initial meeting, Maro shared, “His uncle Angelo asked me what I thought of George. I was over-protected and felt unsure.”

“What could I say? I was 19 and had been over-protected.
“Then he runs to him [George] and asked him what he thought. And he said that I looked too young.
“His uncle told him that I was 24.
“His sister, Yiota, told me how good he was to the family.
“I was embarrassed and did not know what to say.
“I said whatever my dad said would be OK with me. And the rest is history.”

George, 87, affectionately known as Koko, echoed Maro’s sentiments, acknowledging that their union was primarily arranged by their families.

Following their engagement in October, the couple’s relationship blossomed as they worked together in Maro’s father’s shop, fostering a deep connection that culminated in a double wedding with George’s sister and her husband.

The grand celebration took place at the family-owned Palm Grove Restaurant in Happy Valley, epitomizing the essence of a joyous Greek affair.

Throughout their journey, Maro and George weathered life’s storms, transitioning from the Free State to Summerstrand, where they embarked on entrepreneurial ventures and raised a family.

Reflecting on their enduring marriage, Maro emphasized the importance of faith, compromise, and perseverance.

Their daughter, Sue Petratos, attested to the enduring legacy of their love, highlighting the invaluable lessons learned from their enduring commitment and unwavering devotion to each other.

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