I came across a sentence the meaning of I couldn't even guess:
The Bocchicchio Family was unique in that, once a particularly ferocious branch of the Mafia in Sicily, it had become an instrument of peace in America. Once a group of men who earned their living by a savage determination, they now earned their living in what perhaps could be called a saintly fashion. The Bocchicchios' one asset was a closely knit structure of blood relationships, a family loyalty severe even for a society where family loyalty came before loyalty to a wife.
Have no idea about the final sentence in the paragraph. I would say that they are very tough even to themselves, but that's a lousy guess. And what about "came before loyalty to a wife"?