Marriage and the beginnings of family life have always constituted the most significant culturally determined transition in the lives of the people of the Petorca Valley. Much social life revolved around the rituals of courtship, concubinage, and marriage. Petorcans were willing to sacrifice several months' wages to marry. In the middle of the nineteenth century, when a day's work earned twenty-five centavos or less, laborers often paid the priest five pesos and even more to marry. Meanwhile, others sought companionship in concubinage. Celibacy was common, but not chastity. Sexual license and concubinage were conventional stages in courtship, often leading to marriage. The transitions were neither automatic nor inevitable. Marriage and family were determined as much by misery as morality.