The Sixth Love Language

Do you remember Gary Chapman's book "The Five Love Languages"? He taught us how to express affection to the person we love. However, for any relationship to be successful and satisfying, we need to add a sixth language. Find out more here.
The Sixth Love Language
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 09 March, 2023

Stephen Chbosky said, in his classic book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, that we “accept the love we think we deserve”. Few arguments could be more accurate. Indeed, many of us in unhappy relationships offer others pieces of our lives as well as our time and energy. This is because we simply assume that we can’t aspire to anything better.

In fact, the fear of loneliness or almost unconscious inertia which leads us to drift into harmful relationships is extremely frequent. Moreover, among adolescents and young adults, increases in physical and psychological violence are frequently observed. It seems that there’s an extremely harmful link between the ideology of romantic love and emotional dependence.

Falling in love is simple. It pulls you along and subjects you to the most blinding chemical drift. It makes you feel more alive than ever and blurs many of your other realities. Furthermore, society has indoctrinated you with the most dangerous myths about love. This means you might neglect to educate yourself on the most decisive aspect when it comes to your emotional relationships.

As a matter of fact, there’s a sixth love language that needs examining.

You don’t only need to know how to offer love, you must remember that you also deserve it.

couple grabbed
Love speaks many languages and we don’t always practice them all.

The five languages of love you (probably) already know

Some people say they love you. However, they don’t do it too well. At least, not in the correct way of respecting, caring for, and valuing you. One of the areas in which people tend to fail the most is affective responsibility. This gap gives way to a wide multitude of exhausting dynamics.

A book that’s helped several generations of couples in this and other areas is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This Baptist pastor, speaker, and marriage counselor is a best-selling author. He also offers guidelines for strengthening affective ties, resolving conflicts, and building happier relationships.

If you want to understand the sixth love language, first you have to understand numbers one to five.

1. Words of affirmation

Communication is the tool that supports any satisfactory and happy relationship. Within communication, are the words that validate and caress without the need for physical contact. Words that offer encouragement and motivation.

If you love someone, you must know how to verbalize your affection, not in an overly wordy way, but by showing support and affection. This reaffirms your love on a daily basis. For instance by saying things like  “I love how you treat others”, “I’m so proud of you” or “Whatever you decide, I’ll support you”, etc.

2. Physical touch

A couple consists of an alliance between two people who combine friendship with sexual desire, affection, and physical contact. In fact, caresses, hugs, kisses, and sex are the indisputable and essential language that builds a relationship. As a study conducted by the University of North Carolina (USA) confirms, these affectionate touches improve the intimacy and well-being of couples.

3. Quality time

For a relationship to be successful and for you to feel fulfilled in it, it’s not enough just to be present. As a matter of fact, daily life with its routines, pressures, and outside influences can often make your hours together not as happy as you’d like. However, if you have the desire, you can take time out of your day and enjoy your relationship. In effect, you can make some magical moments.

Love requires that you build quality time between the two of you, respecting each other’s space, but forging experiences that you won’t ever forget. These are the kinds of things that build a relationship worth working on.

“Love is a choice you make every day.”

-Gary Chapman-

4. Acts of service

How do you show your partner that you love them? How do you make them realize that they can trust you and that you’re their best source of support? Think about it. You can’t sustain your relationship if you’re not willing to carry out certain tasks for them. And we’re not just talking about household responsibilities like doing the dishes.

Acts of service are daily actions with which you show your interest, affection, and concern for your loved one.

5. Receiving gifts

A gift isn’t something you give to another to receive something in return. Gary Chapman explains that gifts are tokens with which to express your affection for your loved one. Sometimes, these gifts are material. However, most of the time they’re unexpected gestures and little romantic acts that arouse smiles and positive emotions in your partner.

Woman with a light in her mind and her eyes closed thinking in the sixth language of love
Your relationship will never be happy if you don’t first learn to love and respect yourself.

The sixth language of love: love yourself

“For love,” Chapman states, “we will scale mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships.” It’s a beautiful idea but it needs completing along the lines of “We’ll do it without forgetting ourselves, without leaving ourselves aside”.

Indeed, the sixth love language, the foundation on which every one of your relationships must be built, is love for yourself. Without self-love, you give way to the kinds of abusive ties we mentioned earlier. Moreover, without good self-respect, healthy self-esteem, and appreciation for yourself, you’ll continue to validate the myths of romantic love.

Furthermore, you’ll continue looking for the love you think you deserve, not the kind you truly merit. Naturally, it’s a good idea to know how to take care of a relationship, as Gary Chapman suggests, but you mustn’t neglect the pillar that supports everything. Here’s how to build it.

Loving also means taking care of yourself so that your relationship with your partner is satisfactory and happy.

The best love story begins by loving yourself

The sixth love language should remind you every day that you’re worthy of being loved. This truth is nourished by a series of keys that are well worth reflecting on. This is what self-love means:

  • You show yourself to others as you are.
  • You heal your wounds from yesterday. This means you awaken your worth and strengths.
  • You stop feeling afraid of failure. Instead, you find the drive to achieve what you want.
  • You understand your emotions and how to regulate them. In addition, you make use of good emotional communication.
  • You accept that some people won’t like your way of being. That’s because you know you’re not obligated to please everyone.
  • You feel competent and capable of fighting for what you want.
  • You recognize that you deserve to be treated with the same respect with which you treat others.

Finally, just as it’s necessary to love, value, and respect yourself, your partner should also love themselves. In effect, the sixth love language reminds you that those who don’t love themselves expect others to give them what they’re not offering themselves.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Chapman, G. (1996). Cinco Lenguajes del Amor. Spanish House Inc.
  • Dreisoerner A, Junker NM, van Dick R. The relationship among the components of self-compassion: a pilot study using a compassionate writing intervention to enhance self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. J Happiness Stud. 2021;22(1):21-47.
  • Jolink TA, Chang YP, Algoe SB. Perceived Partner Responsiveness Forecasts Behavioral Intimacy as Measured by Affectionate Touch. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2022 Feb;48(2):203-221. doi: 10.1177/0146167221993349. Epub 2021 Mar 19. PMID: 33736544; PMCID: PMC8801651.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.