Lent is upon us, and we’re reminded of our need to fast, pray and give alms. Meanwhile, the secular world is all a flutter over Valentine’s Day, which arrives this Sunday. While the commercials are pushing diamonds, chocolate and flowers, why not invest in a gift that will benefit your marriage, and family, more than another trinket? Rather than one day of romance, why not spend the 40 days of Lent improving the quality of your relationship with your spouse one week at a time, with far greater benefits?

Let me recommend ‘Head & Heart’ by Katie Warner.

I was sent Katie’s book months ago with the understanding I would only share it with my readers if I felt it would be of value to them. I feel like now, while Catholics ponder how to observe Lent and how to express their love on Valentine’s Day, it is the perfect time for me to post my thoughts, and encourage you to pick up your own copy,

Do you want to better live our your vocation as a Catholic wife, mother, husband or father but don’t know where to start? ‘Head & Heart’ is for any couple or family that is struggling to figure out how to lead themselves and their children to heaven. It lays out seven characteristics of strong spiritual leaders, and how to apply them to your daily life in simple steps.

I know so many Catholic couples struggling to create solid Catholic homes for their children because each spouse them self is the product of a broken family. They’re trying to figure out how to have a successful marriage and provide their kids with the stable upbringing neither parent ever knew.

‘Head & Heart’ is the perfect blueprint for anyone who needs to know where and how to start. Not only will you learn how to help yourself, but how to work together as a complimentary team with your spouse to instill in your children the values you’ll want them to take into their own marriages and vocations.

The seven characteristics of Strong Spiritual leaders are:

1. They fulfill a unique complementary roles.
2. They have a mission.
3.They have strong marriages.
4.They prioritize prayer.
5.They make the home a school of virtue and culture.
6. They take up their cross.
7.They cultivate peace.

Each of these chapters presents stories of Catholics just like you who have learned how to become spiritual leaders in their homes, plus action steps at the end of each section (in beginner, intermediate and advanced levels) on how to put these teachings into practice. ‘Head & Heart’ is a quick, easy read that will mention pertinent scripture and Church teachings without making you feel like you’re studying for PhD in theology.

I admit to assuming this book wouldn’t have much to teach me. I am happily married and I was satisfied with the spiritual leadership Tony provides for our family. However, I found myself nodding along many times and making notes of things to bring up for discussion with my husband. Katie’s first chapter really helped me better understand my own role as the Spiritual Heart of our family. Something I’d known intuitively was now written in a way I could clearly understand, study and strive for. Furthermore, all the things that I believe make my marriage to Tony so great/ fun/ successful/ joyful are mentioned in this book. If you know us personally and wonder how our marriage manages to hold up under everything we’ve been dished, just read chapter three. I believe Katie’s writing and advice is sound because I live it everyday.

Early on, Katie also make a point we don’t hear often enough; good marriages are constantly under attack from Satan.

“The devil despises a loving, faith-filled marriage. Consequently, he will seize every opportunity to weaken or destroy it…” pg 34

If you think your marriage is doing well and doesn’t require extra thought or work, you’re wrong. Don’t wait until the next disagreement or until things spiral out of control. Invest in your relationship with your spouse now so you have the necessary tools ready when Satan eventually strikes.

If you’re fasting from social media, blogs, watching TV, Netflix or whatever, chances are, you’ve got the time necessary to read ‘Head & Heart’. If you start this week, you can spend the seven weeks of Lent focusing on a new characteristic each week. Long after the roses are dead and the chocolate eaten, the benefits to studying ‘Head & Heart’ will still be felt.

Katie has resources to accompany Head & Heart on her website, and you can pick up your own copy through Amazon or Emmaus Road Publishing.

Have you read ‘Head & Heart’? What did you think? How has it benefited your marriage and family life?

Focus On Your Head and Heart This Valentine’s Day and Beyond
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