Ireland’s biggest marriage counselling provider saw an increase in demand for its services last year.
Accord engaged with 9,890 people last year, providing more than 50,000 marriage counselling hours.
The number of hours has jumped by almost 7,000 hours since 2010 when the figure was just over 43,000.
The state of the economy and difficult times for householders is considered one of the major factors contributing to marriage problems.
Couples’ communication and problems with listening takes its toll on a marriage along with anxiety and stress, conflict, intimacy, finance, sexual issues and emotional abuse.
On a brighter note, 2013 saw an increase of 7.2pc in the numbers completing marriage preparation courses.
‘‘While an increase in demand for marriage preparation courses is a positive development, Accord figures also indicate an increase in 2013 in demand for our marriage counselling service and, sadly, this tells another story,’’ said President of Accord Bishop Christopher Jones.
‘‘Difficult economic times have put pressure on people and in turn on their marriage and on their family relationships,’’ he added.
Staff worked with 6,423 cases which included 56 per cent couples and 44 per cent individuals.
The average number of sessions attended per couple or person was seven.
The Catholic marriage care service provided 7,600 engaged couples with courses to prepare them before they wed.
The service is available to couples choosing to get married in the Catholic Church.
During 2011 and 2012, there was a modest increase in demand for marriage preparation courses.
‘‘We need to support those preparing for and living the Sacrament of Marriage and help to protect the institution of marriage and the family,’’ he said.
Accord operates 58 centres throughout Ireland and is an agency of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.