More of us seeking marriage guidance

Sarah Stack

Anxiety, stress and verbal abuse caused problems in eight out of 10 marriages last year, figures show.

More than 50,000 hours of counselling were given to 6,500 couples by Accord, the Catholic marriage care service.

Six out of 10 had money worries, while a quarter raised concerns about infidelity, 59pc suffered emotional abuse and 13pc were the victims of violence in the home.

Elsewhere, 7,000 couples took their marriage preparation course with Accord in 2012.

Bishop Christopher Jones, president of the service, urged anyone with marriage or family difficulties to seek support.

"While an increase in demand for marriage preparation courses is a positive development, Accord figures also indicate an increase in 2012 in demand for our marriage counselling service and, sadly, this tells another story," he said.

"Difficult economic times have put pressure on people and in turn on their marriage and on their family relationships.

"My key message today is for those who are experiencing difficulty in their marriage and family, Accord exists to assist you to address, at every stage, these fundamental and vital human relationships."

Almost 800 professionally trained volunteers counsel couples across Ireland. Anxiety and stress were cited by 82pc who needed help, while 82pc reported not listening/ignoring one another as a problem and 78pc of individuals said they were criticised and insulted.