Troubled couples who cannot sell their homes in the recession are turning to counselling rather than separating, it was revealed today.
Accord, the Catholic Marriage Care Service, revealed demand for services increased by 10% last year with 40,000 counselling sessions delivered.
Ruth Barror, Accord national director, said while a breakdown in communication is most common, a variety of other difficulties are emerging during the economic downturn.
“Stress levels have gone up and there is more depression among people,” she said. “Financial problems are very much to the fore and a number of people are suffering from internet problems like pornography, cyber sex and gambling.
“They are distractions in a relationship, a form of escapism.”
The organisation celebrated the results of a healthy marriage by marking the 50th wedding anniversary of Bill and Kathleen Ward at the relics of St Valentine in the Carmelite Church in Whitefriar Street, Dublin.
The Westmeath couple were given a special blessing by Fr David Weakliam in recognition of their marriage commitment.
The event also marked St Valentine’s Day and National Marriage Week.
Ms Barror said it was positive that more couples were coming forward for support.
“It has been suggested that because people can’t sell their homes they are having to stay together and maybe they are looking at their relationship again,” she said.
“Unless it’s really bad people are finding ways of staying together and working through it with less conflict.”
Ms Barror said couples need to be there for each other to have a healthy marriage.
“They need to give each other and themselves time and they have to have fun together, that’s something people forget very quickly,” she continued.
“They also need to show appreciation for what they do for one another and talk through difficulties together by communicating.”
Of the 30,000 couples who chose to get married in a Catholic Church in Ireland in the last two years, approximately 70% attended marriage preparation services with Accord.
It encouraged couples to invest in their relationships as their single greatest asset.