Want to improve your relationship? The answer may be simpler than you think

Married and intimate couples are often looking for ways to maximize satisfaction and compatibility. Countless self-help books, seminars and relationship experts have weighed in on what they feel are the keys to a couple's happiness and longevity. The ideas have varied quite a bit, including the amount of time spent together, shared interests and similar levels of intelligence, not to mention degrees of fondness and admiration for one another.

It's often said that longtime partners develop their own language, a shorthand from building a strong bond. In the same vein, consider the five love languages, which are acts of service, gift-giving, physical touch, quality time and words of affirmation.

Thirty years ago, author, speaker and marriage counselor Gary Chapman wrote "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate." If you learn which language your partner favors and act in accordance with that language, the theory goes, you will find more satisfaction and longevity in your relationship. Conversely, you waste time and energy if you exert effort in other areas. This energy, Chapman argued, can even be counterproductive, as your partner may feel neither heard nor understood.