ACCORD new figures show upward trend in couples getting married

11 Feb 2011

11  February 2011

ACCORD new figures show upward trend in couples getting married

  • ACCORD launches new Facebook page for couples
  • Love, not money, key to happiness on Saint Valentine’s Day and everyday – see list of tips below
  • Audio reflections on love and marriage available to parishes and for broadcast on

ACCORD, the Catholic marriage care service, has announced a 6% increase in the number of couples booking their marriage preparation courses online for the first six weeks in 2011.  In 2010 the online bookings figure was 1183 compared to 1255 for the same period in 2011.

Commenting on this increase, Ms Ruth Barror, National Director of ACCORD said “It is encouraging that despite the economic doom and gloom couples are voting with their feet and taking the big step to cement their relationship by committing to marriage.  The reasons for getting married are timeless and remain unchanged: love, security, togetherness, family creation and mutual support.”

Ms Barror continued “Couples getting married in the Catholic Church book their marriage preparation  course, Church and priest. Especially since the beginning of 2011 ACCORD volunteers have wondered on the impact that recession, and related livelihood insecurities, might have on marriage rates.

“Having monitored the online trend during the first six weeks of 2011, ACCORD is happy to announce today an increase in the rate of marriage bookings.”

Ms Barror continued “This upward trend tells us that in 2011 commitment to marriage is more popular than ever. Couples – even in the face of these economic uncertain times – continue to make this most important of life decisions.

“Couples have entered into marriage in the past during difficult times and ACCORD has been there to support them: whether in the early stages of planning or if they experience difficulty within their relationship. We will continue to offer couples support throughout their lives together.”

ACCORD is also offering tips to couples celebrating St Valentine’s Day this year. Stephen Cummins, Director of Marriage Education with ACCORD explains “While ACCORD acknowledges the ongoing pressure on relationships caused by economic and financial insecurity, many families today are realising the strength and mutual support of the loving bond that is their marriage relationship.

“As we approach 14 February it is important to appreciate that we do not need money to express our love for each other.  This is true on Saint Valentine’s Day and on every day.  ACCORD, based on our experience with couples, has published today some key tips to assist our expression of love to each other.

ACCORD is also marking Saint Valentine’s Day 2011 by launching a new Facebook page – ACCORD Catholic Marriage Care Service. This page will have regular updates from ACCORD’s 60 locations, North and South, as well as information on the agency’s marriage preparation and counselling services.

This new Facebook page will also be used to promote the marriage resources available from ACCORD e.g. Planning Your Wedding Day, an information leaflet on the requirements for marriage in the Catholic Church and which hosts resources for couples preparing for marriage including the facility to create the booklet for the wedding Mass.  ACCORD will also be using its new Facebook page to promote the Sacrament of Marriage.

Commenting on the new ACCORD Facebook page Mr Stephen Cummins said: “Last month in his message issued for World Communications Day 2011, Pope Benedict XVI  said, ‘I invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible. This is not simply to satisfy the desire to be present, but because this network is an integral part of human life. The web is contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness. In this field too we are called to proclaim our faith that Christ is God, the Saviour of humanity and of history, the one in whom all things find their fulfilment (cf. Eph 1:10).’”

Stephen Cummins concluded “With this in mind ACCORD is embracing the medium of Facebook.  In our 60 ACCORD locations, via our website and now on our new Facebook page, ACCORD’s services and related information are even more accessible today than ever before.”

For Saint Valentine’s Day 2011 ACCORD has also released audio reflections on love and marriage. These are available on and at the following link for use by parishes.  These can also be broadcast by radio stations and online without requiring permission.


Notes to Editors

  • ACCORD spokespersons are available for media interviews.

  • ACCORD, the Catholic Marriage Care Service, is an agency of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and is the most geographically widespread provider of services in support of marriage and family in Ireland.  ACCORD’s 60 locations are based in the 26 dioceses on the island and all its services are confidential.

  • Relics of Saint Valentine are interred in the Carmelite Church in Whitefriar Street, Dublin.  Saint Valentine, a priest in ancient Rome, is regarded as the patron saint of couples in love, preparing for marriage and of married life.  Saint Valentine was martyred on 14 February 250 AD.  Pagan ritual associated 14 February with love and after his death this date became associated with St Valentine.  In 1836 relics that were exhumed from the catacombs of Saint Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina, then near Rome, were identified with Saint Valentine.  These relics were placed in a casket, donated by Pope Gregory XVI, and transported to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin.

  • Saint Valentine’s Day ideas for gifts that don’t have to cost the earth!  As we approach Valentine’s Day and are surrounded by ‘gift ‘ideas and special offers, is it possible to have a meaningful Valentine’s Day without the big spend?  Why not share the following gifts:

Compliment each other

We can offer two types of compliment those that address a person’s outer appearance and those that address their inner character. We may be more used to saying :  “your hair looks great” than  “you’re an incredibly kind person” but both of these compliments cost you nothing.

Show you care

Find something that is important in your spouse’s schedule on Valentine’s Day (and other days too) a particular meeting, an important project, a doctor’s appointment and call, text, e-mail and ask how it went. This shows you care and creates an immediate loving bond with him/her.

Talk forward

Your spouse needs to know that they are special all the time and not just on Valentine’s Day, but why not use the occasion to make a thoughtful plan for the future. On Valentine’s Day, say “Let’s go to … (ie a special location/occasion that your spouse enjoys, examples:) movies, shopping, visiting friends.”

Make an offer

Why not volunteer to do something for your spouse before he or she asks you to do it? Offer to pick something up at the shops, prepare dinner, and offer to put the children to bed (if you don’t usually!).  This says to your spouse that I care about you and I am putting you first.

Be memorable

Do and say memorable things this Valentine’s Day and all year round. Instead of dining out, have a candlelit dinner at home. Share the music your spouse enjoys. If you want to spend money buy a lasting plant instead of flowers. Contact them during the day to give a heartfelt comment like “I love you because …”

All of the above will spark love and romance – the cost is minimal – but the gift of words is priceless.

Further information:
Stephen Cummins, Director of Marriage Education for ACCORD 00 353 (0) 872964956
Martin Long, Director of Communications 00353 (0) 86 172 7678