LOCAL Catholic marriage guidance service Accord say that they have seen an increase in people availing of their service due to the financial strain of the recession.
However, Breda O’Hanrahan of Accord, who are based in St Patrick’s Grounds, Dundalk, says that often very little help can go a long way.
“We have many people availing of our help, and yes, financial anxieties can put pressure on a family.
“While I can’t talk about individual cases as all our meeting here are highly confidential, I would say that the recession has had an effect. Men especially can feel strongly a lose of status if they lose their job. Often they would come into a marriage as a provider and when they lose that, it can have a big effect.”
Yet Accord is not just a councilling service, they also provide pre-marriage courses which help prepare soon-to-be-weds to the rigours of married life.
“There are diplomas and degree courses for most subjects in Ireland, but none for living in the married state,” says Breda. “On our wedding day a man and woman vow to take each other for “better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, all the days of our life. But what prepares them for the difficult times, and the ups and downs, that will form part of the relationship?
“The courses are not just about lecturing people, it’s about people spending time together to concentrate on each other. In the hussle and bussle of everyday life sometimes we don’t get time to do this as much as we could.”
The courses focus on many subjects that will come up in a relation, including finances, commitment to your partner and issues around fertility.
“Many couples would worry about fertility, but there are a whole range of issues that can effect a relationship.”
Breda is also keen to point out that the payment for courses goes towards providing counselling services, and says that “no one is ever turned away” for money reasons.
Reassuringly, Breda says nothing has fundamentally changed in relationships since she got married.
“People may have different expectation surrounding careers and how much fun marriage should be, but nothing has much has changed dramatically. 94 per cent of people still put love down as the primary reason for getting married.
“All the modules are tailor made for modern life in Ireland today. On graduation we issue a certificate which is recognised by the Catholic Church all over the world.”
Over the past 20 years Accord Dundalk centre has grown from strength to strength. It offers this unique service to the residents of the town and the surrounding districts. If you are getting married this year book your place on the the pre-marriage course by calling 0429331731.