On Saturday in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, a special gathering – Cruinniú – of up to 200 Accord facilitators, counsellors and clergy took place to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Accord’s support for marriage and relationships across the island of Ireland.

To mark this milestone of service, the Cruinniú included a presentation of results from an Accord commissioned survey on marriage, undertaken by Amárach Research, which found:

State of relationships in Ireland today

In general, people living in a couple relationship rate their overall relationship (and personal wellbeing) quite high.  75% of people rated their relationship quality highly, with less than 10% of people rating their relationship quality poorly.  The demographic that rated their relationship satisfaction the highest was those over the age of 55, and those who have been in a relationship for over 30 years.

81% of people agreed that money and financial pressures are the most significant source of pressure for couples today.  The ability to buy a home was also flagged by younger couples as one of the main pressures they face.

Overall, ratings for relationships were very positive in Ireland, with almost 90% of couples rating the level of trust in their relationship as very strong, 80% rating their relationship happiness as very strong, and over 70% rating their quality of communication within their relationship as very strong.

Perspectives on relationship counselling

About 1-in-10 have attended couple counselling in one form or another, and 1-in-5 would consider it (who have not attended before).  Younger people are the demographic most open to relationship counselling, especially women, those together for less than ten years, and those who rate their relationship poorly.

The internet and GPs are the most likely channels for people to identify potential counsellors – with specialist training topping preferred requirements.

Attitudes towards Accord Catholic marriage care service

Accord is the best known relationship counselling provider, and is primarily known for its services regarding marriage.  Over a third of respondents would recommend Accord to those experiencing problems in a marriage or relationship.

Key findings

The key findings from the research for Accord reflects a generally positive situation for most couples in Ireland today.  There is a recognition that couples often face difficulties – some financial, others emotional – and that they need help at certain points in their relationship.  However, relatively few have sought couple support services, though a large minority are open to it.  Accord plays a widely recognised role in providing couple and relationship support – and there is considerable openness to engaging with Accord now and in the future.

ENDS