AN increasing obsession with social media is the fastest growing threat to couples' relationships, according to the country's largest marriage advisory agency.
Growing number of people are more concerned with updating and posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or chatting to friends on online forums, than spending time communicating directly with their partner, the Catholic marriage advisory agency Accord said.
The agency claims such use of social media is distancing couples as well as causing mistrust and resentment.
"We all see them: The couples in the restaurants eating dinner and both of them are just sitting tapping on their phones, not talking to one another," said Accord director of marriage education, Stephen Cummins.
"People need to learn to leave one phone on silent for the babysitter and one in the car. Marriages are built around communication and that has to be face-to-face," he added.
Accord deals with couples of all ages and in recent years has noticed young couples seeking help after three and four years of marriage.
"None of us are in a perfect relationship -- there is no such thing -- yet we all pursue this supposed perfection which doesn't exist," said Mr Cummins.
Latest figures show numbers coming for counselling increased by 10pc between 2010 and 2011. "I think people now realise that there is no shame in seeking support. Getting help early on is positive as if you don't seek help early on, you are just creating layers and layers of resentment over the years.
"The longer you leave it, the longer the journey back to a place where you were happy is," he said.
The stress of financial problems is still the number one difficulty in Irish marriages, often made worse when one person is not honest about the extent of financial troubles or when one is blaming their partner.
"Often one person isn't telling the other what is going on, then the other person picks up the post one morning to realise that three instalments of a loan haven't been paid," Mr Cummins explained.