After 75 years of marriage, 97-year-old Mary and 96-year-old Mariano Tomasino are still in love.
What's their secret?
"We make the best of it," said Mary.
"Everynight we kiss each other no matter if it was a good day, a medium day or a bad day," said Mariano.
According to Terri Orbuch, a relationship expert and author of "5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great," the Tomasinos have it right. Orbuch is lead researcher in an ongoing long-term study of nearly 400 married couples, some succesful, others not.
"In my study both the happy couples and the unhappy couples had conflict, but those couples that stayed happy over time learned effective and constructive ways to deal with that conflict. So it's how you manage conflict that's important for happiness and stability over the long haul," said Orbuch.
She and other experts say marriages are under a lot more pressure these days with kids, work, financial pressures and distractions such as the internet. As a result, the health of the marriage tends to take a back seat to everything else.
"Good marriages require appreciation, attention and affection - the three A's," said Dr. Sheri Meyers, a relationship expert. "If you are solid in giving each other that you can survive anything."
Experts agree there are seven steps that can help:
- Do sweat the small stuff. Talk about small annoyances before they become a big deal.
- Wait for the right time to bring up a touchy topic.
- Text your spouse to start a difficult conversation but have it in person.
- Maintain passionate sex by trying new things.
- Talk about anything but work, kids or your relationship for at least 10 minutes a day.
- Be generous with compliments and encouragement.
- Focus on what is positive in your relationship.