Marriage and Family Enrichment

Just married couple walking on a sandy beach
In Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis tells us that a couple’s wedding “…is just the beginning. By saying “I do”, they embark on a journey that requires them to overcome all obstacles standing in the way of their reaching the goal. The nuptial blessing that they are receiving is a grace and and incentive for this journey. They can only benefit from sitting down and talking to one another about how, concretely, they plan to achieve their goal.” 218 Furthermore, he asks us as the People of God the important question: “…who is making an effort to strenghthen marriages, to help married couples overcome their problems, to assist them in the work of raising children and, in general, to encourage the stability of the marriage bond?” (Paragraph 52)

Intro / Overview:

The following “Marriage Enrichment Program and Resources” answer Pope Francis call by providing parishes with an opportunity to journey with newlyweds and married couples and to give them the tools and support they need to survive and thrive in today’s world.  They also provide a teachable moment in which to catechize and evangelize newly married couples as they work to achieve the goal of a healthy, happy marriage and family life centered in God.  They also help to assist married couples, on all stages of their journey, to grow and enrich in their relationship and that of their family.

(Attention All Parishes: Please help the Office of Marriage & Family Life to build this resource! If you have any further parish or community programs or resources that you would like to recommend contact: Joan Vienna, at JVienna@la-archdiocese.org)

Marriage Enrichment Programs:

The following programs have been piloted at parishes in the Archdioceses of Los Angeles and have proved effective in helping couples in all stages of marriage. They are also an important resource to help evangelize married couples and their families into the parish community!

The Choice Wine: Seven Steps to an Abundant Marriage (English)

The Choice Wine: 7 Steps to a superabundant marriage is a pathway to authentic marital happiness. Couples will learn how to virtually divorce-proof their marriages, experience the superabundant love and mercy of God and realize a foretaste of paradise in their marriages and families.

The Choice Wine is a nine week, interactive, multi-media program specifically designed for married couples. The timing is flexible, though it is ideally suited to be offered during the Fall in the nine weeks preceding Thanksgiving and again during the Spring, coinciding with Lent

Married couples meet once a week for approx. 1.5-2 hours, including refreshments, opening and closing prayers, material presentation, and small group discussion. This program can be used for the newly married (first five years) or with married couples of all age groups.  The program consists of DVDs presentation with trained parish facilitator(s) help to lead the group sharing that are a part of each presentation.

The Choice Wine, can be used in:

  • a parish setting with newly married couples in their first five years of marriage
  • a parish setting for all married couples.
  • small groups in the home.
  • a parish weekend retreat
  • home study for Individual couples

For more information, please visit the program website at www.thechoicewine.org, or call (281) 974-3541.

Program Costs

The Choice Wine Home Version – $99.95
The Choice Wine Book – $16.95
(Prices as of 7/2016 and may be subject to change without notice.)


Dynamic Catholic – Better Together: Helping Couples Create Great Marriages

Dynamic Catholic presents, Better Together Marriage Preparation and Enrichment Program, which helps couples create great marriages. You dream about your wedding day, your honeymoon, and growing old together. What about everything in between? BETTER TOGETHER equips you with the tools you need to build a lasting, happy, and faith-filled marriage. The program includes short and engaging videos, Marriage Prep/Enrichment Inventory, and a Couple’s Guide Package.

For more information, please visit the program website or call (859) 980-7900.


Beloved: Finding Happiness in Marriage (English)

A 12 session DVD and manualized presentation used in a group or individual couple setting that explores the realities of marriage, and different aspects of the sacrament of marriage.

In twelve sessions, Beloved explores the essential realities of Marriage, dealing with the deepest spiritual, emotional, and practical aspects of what the sacrament means for those preparing to get married as well as those who yearn for a richer married life. Through an exploration of Scripture, Tradition, and Church teaching, God’s plan for Marriage will come alive.

This program will help you with that exploration, giving time-tested tools and advice to make the experience informative, inspirational, and life-changing through:

  • Effective use of the videos and guides
  • Impactful discussion questions
  • Detailed teaching
  • Outlines and insights for leadership
  • Helps for marriage preparation
  • Helps for marriage enrichment classes and retreats

The Beloved Parish Edition has been structured for flexible use in either a Marriage Preparation or Marriage Enrichment setting.

The Beloved Home Edition has been structured for use by couples at home with more focus on personal reflection.

Program Costs

Beloved Parish Edition – $149.95  (DVD BOX SET of 12 DVDs)

Beloved Couple’s kit – Marriage Enrichment – $194.85 (Includes 1 Beloved Parish Edition DVD Set, and 2 Couples Guides)

Beloved Home Edition – DVD Set – $59.95 (The Beloved Home Edition is comprised of the first six episodes of the full Beloved Parish Edition, plus two Couple’s Guides for marriage enrichment)

For more information, please visit the program website at www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/beloved, or call (866) 767-3155.


Marriage Enrichment Inventories
REFFOCCUS© Marriage Enrichment Inventory (English & Spanish)

The REFOCCUS© Marriage Enrichment Inventory is a packet of five questionnaires that a married couple can use and score by themselves, as part of a weekend retreat, or in five weekly evenings in which the general topical areas are discussed with other couples. REFOCCUS is ideal for married couples who wish to spend time and energy on their relationship, but desire a little direction and skill building assistance in doing so.

The REFOCCUS© Marriage Enrichment Inventory is a growth and enrichment tool, which can be taken by a married couple at any stage of their marital relationship.

Couples independently indicate their agreement or disagreement with statements presented in six different sections of the REFOCCUS© Inventory, which can be taken over the course of days or weeks to allow the couple time for in-depth discussion and consideration. The inventory is not intended for use by individuals in seriously troubled marriages.

Contact
For more information, please visit the program website at www.foccusinc.com, or call (877) 883-5422.

Program Costs
REFOCCUS Marriage Enrichment Inventory Packet (Spanish or English) – $25
(Prices as of 7/2016 and may be subject to change without notice.)


PREPARE/ENRICH Marriage Mentor Program (English/Spanish)

Implementing a marriage mentor program can be an exciting and powerful addition to the ministry or outreach of your church or community.

  • For premarital and newlywed couples, Marriage Mentors provide helpful role models during the premarital stage and first year of marriage.
  • For married couples, meeting with Marriage Mentors can provide hope, enrichment, and direction for their marriage

PREPARE/ENRICH is the leading relationship inventory and skill-building program used nationally and internationally. It is built on a solid research foundation and significantly improves a couple’s relationship. PREPARE/ENRICH is custom tailored to a couple’s relationship and provides couple exercises to build their relationship skills.

With PREPARE/ENRICH, you will not just get a packet of instructions to figure out on your own. With our day-long workshops, you’ll get thorough training on the program, providing you with the skills you need to use the PREPARE/ENRICH materials most effectively. You’ll learn how to:

  • Administer the online assessment
  • Interpret couples’ reports
  • Provide useful feedback to couples
  • Guide couples’ exercises
  • Teach proven relationship skills
  • Work more effectively with couples

For more information about the program, to find a facilitator in your area or how to become a facilitator, please visit the program website at www.prepare-enrich.com, or call 1 (800) 331-1661.

Program Costs

PREPARE/ENRICH Group Program – $35.00
Marriage Mentor Manual – $30.00
(Prices as of 7/2016 and may be subject to change without notice.)


Marriage and Family Movements
Christian Family Movement

Christian Family Movement (CFM) helps establish and support small discipleship groups for couples and families. Discipleship is accomplished through teaching one to use the methodology of observe, judge, act in their daily lives – observing the situations around us, judging them in the light of Christ’s teaching and acting to make a difference. CFM is a life-charging ministry for families of all shapes, sizes and stages. #CFMACT

For more information on how to become a member and CFM groups in your area, please contact Lauri Przybysz (800) 581 – 9824, director@cfm.org) or visit the organization website at www.cfm.org​. 

Active Chapter Locations:
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hermosa Beach  
Contact Person: John and Mary Poprac – (310) 375-9242

St. Lawrence Martyr Redondo Beach
Contact Person: John and Mary Poprac – (310) 375-9242, Denise Geltz (310) 375-7931

St. John Fisher, Rancho Palos Verdes
Contact Person: Frank and Joan Lee – (310) 373-1783​


World Wide Marriage Encounter (English & Spanish)

A weekend retreat for couples with presentations, and experiences focused on improving communication between couples and strengthening marriages.

A series of presentations made by the Presenting Team, consisting of 3 married couples and 1 priest. Each presentation builds on the last as we examine ourselves, our behaviors and attitudes, our relationship with our spouse and God. Communication tools are taught on the weekend helping couples connect in healthy, constructive ways on areas that can deepen their intimacy and connectedness.

Marriage Encounter Weekends have been given in the US since 1967. Decades of research, planning and tried and true wisdom have gone into the content of the Weekend and how it unfolds for couples and religious.  We ask all participants to attend ALL talks and participate intently using the tools with their Spouse in order to maximize their experience.

All sharing between spouses is PRIVATE, and this is NOT a weekend to solve problems! This Weekend will help couples in good marriages communicate even better.

  • There are some “Non-residential” parish-based Weekends (held Saturday and Sunday only) currently being piloted at parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  In these programs the participants return to their homes Saturday evening and resume the program early Sunday morning.

For more information about cost and program specifics, please visit the program website at www.wwme.org. To find an upcoming Marriage Encounter weekend in your area, please visit the “Find a weekend” section of the website at www.wwme.org/find-a-weekend.

Organizing Couples:
George and Ginny Hazboun: (562) 861-7562

Hector and Gloria Reyes: (562) 832-0460 (Lakewood, Cerritos, Whittier, Santa Fe Springs, Downey)
Louis and Jennifer Paredes: (626) 334-3318 (San Gabriel Region)
Tony and Lynn Fernandez: (818) 383-6399 (San Fernando)
Anthony and Val Mena: (310) 515 -3522 (San Pedro)

Call any couple on the list, they will be glad to help or direct you to the correct organizing couple.


Marriage Encounter and Family Life Movement of California (English)

The Marriage Encounter and Family Movement of California (MEFM), previously known as the Marriage Encounter in the Filipino Perspective (MEFP), is a spiritual movement dedicated to promote, support and strengthen the Sacrament of Marriage.  The weekends start on Friday evening and conclude Sunday evening.  Weekends are facilitated by trained team of married couples and 4 deacons, with presentations focused on improving communication and examination of the relationship.  Supplemental functions and meetings are held throughout the year to support couple’s progress.


Couples for Christ

CFC provides a continuing program of pastoral and spiritual formation which includes Church teachings, Scriptures, Christian relationships, recollections and retreats. We are one with the Church and regularly seek her guidance through our Spiritual Director. Its members support their parish priests and are available for parish services. CFC is a working model for the development of Basic Ecclesial Communities and can hasten the formation of a strong and vibrant parish community.

For more information, please visit the organization website at couplesforchristusa.org.


Online Marriage Support
For your Marriage​​​​​: USCCB Marriage and Family Life Website ​(English & Spanish)

The “For Your Marriage” website offers practical help and advice whether you’re seriously dating, engaged, or at any stage of married life. On the homepage check out the Daily Marriage Tips, book reviews, and blogs by engaged and married couples.

Marriage Enrichment Speakers:
Therapist

Dr. John Yzaguirre, Ph.D (English / Spanish)
Claire Frazier – Yzaguirre. MFT, M.Div. (English)

Dr. John Yzaguirre, Ph.D. and Claire Frazier – Yzaguirre, M. Div., MFT, are licensed Psychologist and Marriage and Family therapist consultants and speakers to the churches for 30+ years. They specialize in premartial preparation and maritial enrichment, anxiety reduction and stess management. They are the co-directors of their Irvine counseling practice and their Thriving Marriages program at www.ThrivingFamilies.com. They offer inspirational talks and a growing line of helpful resources, in both English and Spanish (Dr. John) on multiple topics to strengthen marriages and family life and couples of all ages and stages. Ideal for offering through Faith formation programs and as church-wide talks on Advent, Lent, Pentecost  and summer programs.

Dr. John is a regular speaker at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Religious Education Congress and for the Office of Family Life and Claire is a regular speaker at the Southern California Renewal Community Conferences (SCRC) and they present annually to 50+ churches/ conferences in our Southland CA area. Churches and marriage groups all over are using their Thriving Marriage talks and resources to grow their marriage and faith ministries.

To contact them, please visit www.ThrivingFamilies.com

John Yzaguirre, Ph.D, can be contacted at john@thrivingfamilies.com and Claire Frazier-Yzaguirre, MFT, M.Div. can be contacted at claire@thrivingfamilies.com or can call (949) 851-1572.

Judith McCord, LMFT (English)

Judith McCord is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been in practice for over twenty years. She conducts parenting workshops, is a speaker at family-centered conferences. She holds degrees and certificates in Early Childhood Education, Family Therapy and Adult Education.  Ms. McCord is a professor at Pasadena Community College, serving as adjunct faculty. She has taught classes in the Parent Education Department for 40 years, specializing in child development and parent child relationships.

Ms. McCord has been active in a variety of ministries and is currently a member of a Women’s Ministry team giving retreats and workshops. She also gives presentations on issues of grief, couple relationships, spiritual development, and family faith enrichment.

Ms. McCord can be contacted at: (626)798-2332 and judithbmerry@hotmail.com.


Marriage Enrichment Books and Publications:

THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES

Dr. Gary Chapman identifies five basic languages of love and then guides couples towards a better understanding of their unique languages of love. Learn to speak and understand your mate’s love language, and in no time you will be able to effectively love and truly feel loved in return. Skillful communication is within your grasp!

MARRIAGE: IT’S A GOD THING

​A much richer understanding of the meaning of Christian marriage as a sacrament has evolved. This book…in concrete, practical ways tries to show how that can make a difference in the day-to-day lives of the couple striving for a happier, more fulfilling and holier marriage.” —From the Foreword

THE FOUR KEYS TO EVERLASTING LOVE

Drawing on real-life stories, scriptural principles, and the timeless wisdom of St. John Paul II to help you celebrate the sacrament of Marriage without downplaying the difficulties of married life. In doing so, they will inspire you to stay in love with each other, Christ, and the wisdom of the Church. (Ave Maria Press)

PROJECT HOLINESS

Project Holiness: Marriage as a Workshop for Everyday Saints celebrates the holiness of the ordinary and the goodness of married discipleship. Vatican II’sLumen Gentium reminds Catholics of the universal call to holiness. Each person-lay and ordained alike-shares this vocation to holiness, this call to sainthood. For most adult Catholics, it is within the context of vowed, married life that the joyful and challenging path to sainthood is traveled.

A GUIDE TO CATHOLIC WEDDINGS

​A Guide to Catholic Weddings: Q&A for Couples provides the answers to common questions engaged couples have about the Catholic Church and the wedding ceremony.  It is the perfect resource to use together and will help answer questions related to:

  • Where and when a wedding can be scheduled
  • Responsibilities for wedding preparations
  • Church rules and requirements
  • How to prepare the ceremony
  • Scripture and Holy Communion
  • Involvement of family, friends, and the wedding party
  • Cultural customs and traditionsMusic, flowers, photography, and dress

UNITED IN CHRIST

​United in Christ: Preparing the Liturgy of the Word at Catholic Weddings is perfect for parish staffs to provide couples with a high quality and pastoral resource for preparing all aspects of the Liturgy of the Word for their wedding. This includes:

  • Full texts of the readings from The Order of Celebrating Matrimony in sense line format
  • Pastoral Scripture commentary written by married Catholic scholars and liturgical ministers
  • Reading suggestions for a cohesive and unified Liturgy of the Word
  • Reasons a couple might select a particular reading
  • Guidance for writing the Prayer of the Faithful with sample texts
  • Full texts of the consent, blessing and exchange of rings, and the Nuptial Blessing
  • Selection form to turn in to the pastor, deacon, or liturgist

YOUR MONEY COUNTS
Your Money Counts is a companion book to the Compass Bible studies and also a great read on its own. Many people are experiencing financial challenges, such as debt, a frustrating job, or inadequate savings. Recent surveys have found that over half of all divorces are the result of financial pressure at home. Suffocating materialism is robbing people of their spiritual vitality. Your Money Counts, is a blueprint for financial sanity.

SET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER
Set Your House in Order is a five-week Bible study that is done in a small group, which meets for two hours each week. The purpose of the study is to help you create update and organize all your important information (health care surrogate, power of attorney, password list, advisors, assets, debts, will, insurance, etc.) If there is an accident, illness or death, the most important gift you can give your family is organized and up to date information.​

NAVIGATING YOUR FINANCES GOD’S WAY
Navigating Your Finances God’s Way is a nine-week Bible study that is done in a small group, which meets for two hours each week. Preparation for the small group takes about 15 minutes each day and consists of Bible verses to read and questions to answer, which are discussed in the small group meeting. Additionally, there are personal financial exercises to complete. No personal financial information is ever shared within the small group.​

GOD MARRIAGE & MONEY
God Marriage & Money is a book specifically designed for couples who are engaged to be married. Most couples spend more time discussing the flavor of their wedding cake than talking about their finances. Yet finances are something they’ll deal with every day of their married lives. This book has everything needed to have an open and honest discussion about finances before the wedding! It is a great resource to complement existing diocesan or parish marriage preparation programs.​

WHY MARRIAGE MATTERS: THIRTY CONCLUSIONS FROM THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
Why Marriage Matters reviews the relevant research on family topics and comes to three fundamental conclusions: marriage is an important social good, marriage is an important public good, and the benefits of marriage extend to poor and minority communities. The third edition pays particular attention to new research on the impact of cohabitation on children and families. It concludes with a “U.S. Marriage Index,” which compiles and presents the leading indicators of marital health in the United States. These indicators include: 1) The percentage of adults marriage (ages 20-54); 2) the percentage of married persons “very happy” with their marriage (ages 18 and up); 3) the percentage of first marriages intact (ages 20-59); 4) percentage of births to married parents; and 5)  the percentage of children living with own married parents.​

THRIVING MARRIAGES / CASADOS Y FELICES

A must read for every couple, dating, engaged or married of any age, and for the every faith & marriage leader! In this inspirational book, Dr. John and Claire Yzaguirre share a beautiful model of Christian marital unity and a practical roadmap of skills to achieve joyful and lasting unity. With helpful questionnaires and easy to apply “try this” exercises, along with inspiring “soul chapters” that integrate our faith seamlessly, this book helps couples (even those with little or no faith background) learn how to prepare for their marriage and grow their marital unity at every age and stage of their journey. Ideal for faith formation and for marriage ministries and couples small group discussion.

Books and CD’s on helpful topics are available in English and Spanish.

Marriage Preparation

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