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Saturday, December 10, 2016
Irish Church releases study on marriage
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¬†Bishop Willie Walsh, Bishop of Killaloe in Ireland and President of Accord, the Catholic Marriage Care Service, yesterday launched survey findings based on responses from 712 couples on the first seven years of marriage. The launch took place in the Accord offices on Harcourt Street, Dublin. Bishop Walsh said: "this survey is clearly good news about marriage. It reassures us that the deeply felt human need for a life long loving relationship ≠ which is marriage ≠ is alive and well." "The survey's finding that more than three out of four couples are very happy with their marriage is indeed good news. It is also heartening that the majority of couples agree that their relationship of love has strengthened since their marriage. The survey, which was commissioned by Accord, is welcome news for Accord members and for the many other groups who work generously in support of marriage and family. Their work is truly worthwhile, contributing as it does to the stability and enrichment of couple relationships within marriage. "While one in four couples describe themselves as 'not at all religious' the majority claim to be 'moderately religious' and attend religious service either regularly or occasionally. These figures indicate that while religious practice has declined among recently married couples, the scale of the decline is not as extreme as sometimes suggested by commentators in the media. This surely is a source of encouragement to us as priests who are involved in the pastoral care of marriage as sacrament." Bishop Walsh continued: "Whilst this survey was not confined to Catholic couples, the sacredness of the marriage relationship is at the heart of the Christian understanding of marriage." "The challenge for all of us is to work for a society which truly cares for marriage and family. Loving families are not only good for the members of that family, they are also good for the wellbeing of our whole society," said Bishop Walsh. Speaking at the launch, the National Director of Accord, Mr Shay Ellis, said: "Our survey Married Life ≠ the First 7 Years is the first comprehensive study of its kind undertaken in Ireland. The research analyses attitudes underpinning: courtship, cohabitation, relationships, marriage and family, family size, money, overall happiness, and the role of the Church and State in supporting recently married couples." Mr Ellis said: "This is an important and useful survey as it evaluates the behaviour and attitudes of newly married couples to marriage - with all the responsibilities that come with that. Married couples face enormous pressures brought about by modern living, specifically the challenge of rearing families and working outside the home. Notwithstanding such pressures, the survey finds that married couples generally perceive marriage as the optimum way to have and raise children, with both parents vital to their child's wellbeing." Some key findings from the surveyed couples include: - Average age at marriage is rising and among couples surveyed it was 32 years. - 56% of couples knew each other for more than 3 years, 33% for one year and 11% for less than one year. - 58% couples live with their spouse before marriage. - 77% of couples are very happy with their marriage. - 73% of couples agree strongly that their spouse makes them smile or laugh. - 73% strongly believe that fathers are as important as mothers in the proper development of children. - 93% of the children of married couples surveyed are born after marriage. - Joint decision making is seen as the major disadvantage of marriage. - 63% of couples agree strongly that their relationship has strengthened since they married. - 9 out of 10 couples would recommend marriage to another couple. - 7% of couples have seriously considered separation or divorce. - 7% of couples strongly believe that the government does enough to support marriages. - 69% of couples believe that they are moderately or very religious. Source: Irish Catholic Media Office
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