By Cathi Douglas     2/4/2016

Even for couples married many years, living in unity is a challenge. Facing financial hardships, family dynamics, social pressures and more, many couples consider creating and maintaining a joyful, thriving marriage nearly impossible.

Not so, say licensed Catholic therapists John and Claire Yzaguirre, authors of “Thriving Marriages: An Inspirational & Practical Guide to Lasting Happiness” and frequent speakers of workshops and seminars at parishes through the Diocese of Orange.

“We integrate marriage with our faith in a seamless way,” explains Claire Frazier-Yzaguirre. “We’ve had couples tell us once they’ve used our program that it’s the first time they’ve understood what marriage can be. Most of us haven’t really understood how to make a successful marriage and how to connect it with the spirituality of unity.”

The couple will present a comprehensive, three-part “Thriving Marriages” series in March, April and May, Frazier-Yzaguirre says. The Sunday afternoon series will be held at Christ Cathedral.

With the dawn of the new year, as well as the beginning of the Church’s Year of Mercy, Frazier-Yzaguirre notes, it’s an optimal time for couples to work toward making their marriages stronger, happier and more fulfilling. “Learning how to forgive each other is relevant to the Year of Mercy,” she notes. “It’s essential to having and restoring unity.”

In their presentations and workshops, the therapists share with couples the vision of a thriving marriage, then teach them a road map to boost the unity and joy in their marriages, she explains.

The Yzaguirres have 30 years of clinical and ministry experience and train thousands of couples from various denominations each year in their marriage and family life programs. In addition to co-directing their Irvine-based counseling practice, they’ve been happily married for 29 years and have a grown son, Paul.

“We teach how to do unity, whether couples are premarital or married at any stage,” she notes. “We share key skills to living in marital unity. We are sharing how to live God’s will through the sacrament of marriage.”

The couple teaches that the three skills necessary for a successful marriage are empathy for each other; self-care to ensure you bring your best self to your partner; and mutuality skills, including conflict resolution, forgiveness and reconciliation.

For further information, visit ThrivingFamilies.com.