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Marriage Advice Project Seeks Older Adults

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On matters of the heart, a Cornell University gerontologist is working on a Marriage Advice Project, seeking the wisdom of older adults to impart to younger generations. He wants to survey hundreds of individuals, and has homed in on Orange County as one of the project’s locations.  

Despite decades of differences and technological advances, Dr. Karl Pillemer says he has found in his research that younger people do want to get married, and to one person for a lifetime, and they’re looking for advice from their elders on how to do this successfully.

His current Marriage Advice Project follows an earlier project in which he says he and his researchers asked older adults about life advice in general.

This latest project focuses exclusively on those in both marriages and long-term, committed relationships, including same-sex couples, and on those 60 and older.

Dr. Pillemer, a professor of human development and gerontology at Cornell University, says he is getting the advice through a national phone survey, along with focus groups, which were recently held in Orange County.

Denyse Variano is working with Dr. Pillemer. She’s the Family and Consumer Sciences Issue Leader at Cornell University Cooperative Extension in Orange County.

Jill Mante is a Warwick, Orange County resident who participated in the focus group, and offers this advice.

She is a celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary this month, and when asked to what she owes the success of her marriage, she replies:

Denyse Variano says Cornell Co-op in Orange County is one of the only field sites for the project. And she is working with the county’s Office for the Aging.

Jill Mante has lots more advice.

Dr. Pillemer says after compiling the advice, he intends to publish a book in the fall of 2014, and create an online presence.

There are many ways for those 60 and older to get involved in the Marriage Advice Project– phone interviews, writing a narrative, and posting advice online. Denyse Variano says they are especially looking for those 65 and older.


In Orange County, for more information, call Denyse Variano at Cornell University Cooperative Extension Orange County, (845) 344-1234.

more jill advice.mp3
Additional marriage advice from Jill Mante, Warwick resident married 40 years Feb. 2013.