01/10/2011 01:17 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Military Marriage: 7 Ways to Keep Yours Sizzling in 2011

I was speaking to an acquaintance on the phone one day when she hear her garage door open. "Oops, gotta go Lori!", she exclaimed. "Why, are we talking too long?", I asked. "Nope. My husband's home and it's time for lunch 'n love."

As I high-fived her over the phone lines I was happy for her. That's the way to take care of your man, I thought. And ultimately she is taken care of. It's no wonder when I see them they're always touching each other and look as if they have a naughty secret they share. Now
it includes the three of us. Well, not counting the thousands of you who will read this article.

I've often thought why is it we spend so much time tuning up our cars, weather-proofing our houses, and can spend hours shopping for the latest fashion before we even think of taking care of our marriages. What are we missing in the marriage formula?

I believe that sometimes we act as if it's not on fire there is no emergency. It's not what we don't know that hurts us. It's what we DO know and do nothing about. If we're honest right here and now, I bet you could name your spouse's top 3 priorities in your marriage. You
know what they are. And since we're being honest when was the last time you handled it?

Three years ago, my husband and I were married for six years and we considered what helped us persevere through deployments (mine when I was active duty and his), assignments, multiple PCSes and kids. We came up with a list of seven key things that were marriage helpers to us, and
it's what I want to share with you:

1. Creativity. This has turned out to be a cornerstone for my husband and me. Keep things fresh and exciting! There's nothing wrong with spontaneity, even planned spontaneity. All you need to do is pick a new way to to do the same thing. Need help? See key #2...

2. Become a Student of Your Spouse. Generally speaking, men are not that complicated, and some women aren't either. And men are routinely routine. If you pay attention to what he likes, the things he says, and what he responds to (and how) you will learn all you need to keep him happy and at the same time satisfy your desires as well.

3. Fan the Flames of Ambition. What is he passionate about? What does
she really want out of life? Encourage that, and approach your marriage from a team concept. When he's successful so are you. When he's promoted, guess what, you are too! As a woman, you are uniquely gifted to influence his dreams, goals, and talents. Use that influence for
good, and you will ultimately benefit yourself.

4. Speak the Same Language (or at least translate well). From our engagement, we read the fabulous book "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. In it, he discusses the unique way couples communicate. When you regularly check-in emotionally with each other you help cement your commitment to love him the way your both want (and need) to be loved.

5. Have Mandatory Fun. Schedule out significant time with your spouse
and treat it like a very important appointment. You would be amazed at what you learn about each other, from each other. And what you will give to each other when you reconnect in a fun way.

6. Stay Sexy. You've heard it before... men are visual. That means your appearance DOES matter girlfriend. But the interesting thing is that your man is most likely
more turned on by all your curves and dips than you think. Don't let your poochy middle stop you from being hot! He loves you and your body, and if you don't love it, don't complain about it. Change it!

7. Keep First Things First. Remember, your spouse is part of your destiny and your marriage is a product of YOUR intelligent choice (unless it was arranged. In which case we need to write another article). Don't complain, compare, or spend energy daydreaming about better days. You're in it so do what you need to do to make it work.