ACCORD Catholic Marriage Care Service provides counselling and marriage education services throughout NI. According to the latest figures, there are more than 2300 divorces in NI each year, with almost 600 of them coming after 9 years of marriage. The largest proportion of divorcees are in their late thirties. Maybe more surprisingly, however, is the fact that there is also a steady breakdown in long lasting marriages: more than 200 couples get divorced after 25 years of marriage. ACCORD which offers support for couples across the religious divide, has centres in Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast, Derry, Enniskillen, Maghera, Newry and Omagh. ACCORD Director, Deirdre O'Raw says: "Everyone tends to know that you have to work at marriage but sometimes a couple get stuck and cannot seem to be able to sort their problems out. It is best for them to ask for help before they reach crisis point. This is why organisations like us are here to help. Our message to people is that it is better to start talking to us before they stop talking to each other."
ACCORD's Relationship Counselling is provided for couples as well as individuals in a couple relationship in a caring and confidential manner. It is a twofold process enabling clients to identify and acknowledge difficulties including domestic violence and to discover the inner resources to deal with them.
Marriage Preparation is provided in a Christian context and focuses on the essential components which foster a good couple relationship: lifelong commitment, communication and conflict resolution skills, responsible parenthood within a faith context, and time and resource management.
FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication and Understanding Study), a self-diagnostic inventory designed to help couples learn more about themselves before marriage, is used. If fears exist regarding physical or emotional abuse, these are discussed and dealt with in an open manner. Potential spouse abuse situations may call for individual sessions with the partner. There is often a tendency in these situations to minimize the problem and assume/hope it will improve after marriage.
They also offer the following services:
- Fertility Awareness and Management
- Marital Sexual Therapy
- Schools Programmes
- Personal and Marriage Enrichment Courses
How to Contact