The Unconditional Love of A Champion

“All I ever wanted my entire life was unconditional love. I reached out to a mentor from church, in tears about his most recent departure, and my mentor said: “Unconditional, love does not exist! And you need to get help for your codependency!”

After listening carefully to her lifelong dream of being loved, a long-term marriage that did not fulfill that dream, and then having found the love of her life five years ago … and experiencing major challenges… I assured her: “Unconditional love is possible, but it doesn’t mean a perfect road.”

She melted in tears of relief.

Some people believe that unconditional love is a fairy tale, but others believe it is the only real love we know.

It has been defined by many and in a thousand different ways. This is the definition that I use when I speak about the topic with my clients:

It’s a love that is selfless, often sacrificial, and has the well-being of the other as a top priority. It requires nothing but rejoices when it is reciprocated. It does not change with time, circumstances, or in adversity. It is the kind of love that believes the best in the other, and calls the best of their partner forward.  

“That’s exactly how I feel! I really do! We get into tough moments, and I get careless with my words and reactions too. What’s wrong with me that I keep praying he will come back? I see who he is beneath the drinking, beneath the anger, beneath the blaming, shaming and complaining about everything. I really do! And at times he is fun and delightful. Is it me? Am I crazy?” she said in a voice that sounded desperate for answers.

I nodded with empathy and understanding, “Before we diagnose you with something or try to figure out what wrong, let’s take a moment and honor you for loving this man like you. And I bet when he isn’t agitated, he is a great man!”

I could see by the look in her eyes that she knew I “got it”!

Unconditional love is beautiful. We all want it. Men and women, young and old …

We all want to give it.

So let’s look at what the unconditional love of a Champion looks like:

1. Champions know that love will be challenged, and that’s why they understand and embrace the significance of commitment.

Although I could clearly see my client’s heart was broken… I could also see the deep love she had for her husband.

These days, we often confuse unconditional love with codependence. Codependency is a real condition, but not everyone who unconditionally loves someone in a challenging relationship is codependent.

My client had heard that from counselors and friends… That she must be codependent. I told her there could be some codependency mixed in, but what I saw from her was unconditional love for her husband.

Like so many others, she wanted to know what was wrong with her, that she still loved him, still saw the best in him, and also still believed that buried deep inside… There was a great man.

I explained to her that it was the Champion deep in him that she saw. “He is indeed a Champion, although I don’t really know what that means.”

I gave her my definition of the Champion within:

Your Champion is the one you were born to be: a priceless, precious, innocent dreamer … buried beneath the pain, the shame, and messaging and beliefs about you and your life … installed on the hard-drive of your mind, heart, and spirit. Those things on your hard drive that appeared to have silenced the wonder of the Champion within.

“That is exactly who he is! I know it! I see it! I believe it!” she proclaimed.

I also mentioned to her that the fact that he struggled with drinking, leaving, and, other behaviors indicated that he could have unresolved trauma.

I encouraged her to keep believing in what she saw in him, and if there were any behaviors on her part that might smack of codependence, we would address those along the way.

Her second question, “Why do we have so many challenges, even though I try to make it good for both of us?“ is a question that goes unanswered to. often, or the incorrect answers are given.

The truth is, when someone is our healing partner, our undeniable match, which Harville and Helen Hendrix call the Imago match … it is much more than a just a stormy relationship. More accurately, it is an opportunity for great healing and great intimacy. This ongoing pop psychology theme that: “When things get tough, just move on…” has done great harm and destruction to many relationships.

Although easier said than done, I suggested that she think of those moments when they have challenges as assurance that , there is the potential for deep healing and intimacy. And in the midst of those moments, instead of focusing on the challenges, to focus on gratitude.

Gratitude for the moments that were truly wonderful, gratitude that they had found deeper love than they each had ever known with one another.

What about you? Have you been encouraged to break and run when things get tough?  I would like to challenge you to turn in, and focus on being healing partners.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, which is why commitment is so very important to Champions.

Deep commitment is not a feeling.

No one ever said it would be easy.

And it requires deep devotion.

I would encourage you to read about being healing partners when challenges arise by clicking on this link:

And if one or both of you “bolt and run” when things get tough, learn about commitment.

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” 
― Mario Andretti

“Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.”

         ― Abraham Lincoln

Shortly after the session where we had this discussion, she called and said her husband had returned, and asked if they could come in together? I was quite delighted! What perfect timing for our next session.

2. Champions know that unresolved trauma interferes tremendously with their deep desire for unconditional love, both in giving it and receiving it.

I was so glad that her husband came along to that session. He was as wonderful as she had described him being. However, she was also right about his anger. Moments into the session, and he was being surly, condescending, and a gaslighting pro.

With a warm smile, I asked him, “What happened in your life when you were a little boy?” he glared at me and then at her and said to her, “What the hell did you tell her?” Her shocked look assured him that she had said nothing. So he turned the attitude on me!

“What are you talking about?” he demanded. “Well, I can already see in the first 10 to 15 minutes that you’re just as wonderful as she said you were. But you’re also just as volatile as she described you being. I know a good man when I see one. And that’s you.”

His livid expression softened, and he sat back in his chair a bit. I continued: “Usually, when I see the incongruency of a wonderful human with that steam cooker spirts of smoke, there is likely some early trauma that creates the incongruency.“

As he pondered, I added: “When you came in, you announced that you were the ‘drunk’ she had told me about. The truth is, you are not a ‘drunk’. You may misuse alcohol, but you use it to cope with the pain, the shame, of whatever has happened to you. There is a Champion in you, and you know that’s true. Down deep inside of you is a Champion, and you know that’s true. Down deep inside of you is someone more amazing than your very best moments.  And I just like to help you find and resurrect that part of you!”

I never expected to see tears when he finally looked up.

We embarked upon a process of resolving the trauma of a broken little boy … unloved, and nurtured, and uncared for, and had almost lost his life in a severe car accident early on.

A huge part of resolving that kind of trauma, particularly for an amazing little boy deep within, who was unloved, and unnurtured … is melting the wall of steel and ice that pushes love away like some kind of loaded gun.

We were together for weeks working on that early trauma, to unearth and resurrect the Champion deep within him. If you are unfamiliar with that process, you can read about it by clicking this link:

In the process, he acknowledged her unconditional love that had kept him coming back home. She was right there with him though his entire process, and it was evident that their unconditional love was pouring forth. It was one of the moving most moving things I had ever experienced in my office.

Yes, Champions know that unresolved trauma keeps them from receiving and giving unconditional love. Unresolved trauma leaves us coping in ways that prevent our ability to let down walls and truly love.

Stop running.

Stop hiding with addictions.

Work through your trauma.

And let the unconditional love wash all over you.

And pretty soon, it will be pouring out of you too! 

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

― Martin Luther King, Jr.

3. Champions know that unconditional love is something that must be nurtured and continually invested in. 

I love seeing marriages saved. But it often only occurs because one has unconditional love that they refuse to let go of! They remain committed, the continue to love unconditionally, and they believe the best will occur!

When it begins flowing in both directions, it creates a deep connection that many people never experience. Those that I have had the honor of leading into this kind of intimacy and connection that we all long for, have something that others long for!

But you can’t take it for granted!

In my last session with this couple, I began sharing with them how that they had to be very intentional about investing in their relationship and their unconditional love, and keeping it nurtured and growing!

The husband commented, “I barely even know what this stuff is, but I don’t want to lose it. I’m finally letting her unconditional love in, and she says she’s feeling some unconditional love from me. How do I make sure it never goes away, that it never ends?”

I smiled with such deep gratitude for what I had seen occur between them. “Nurturing it is about being intentional every day.

  • Watching your tone of voice
  • Looking into her eyes
  • Spending time together daily
  • Quality time without cell phones, TVs or media
  • Gazing into her eyes and telling her how much she means to you every day
  • Touching her gently throughout the day
  • Non-sexual touch, and of course sexual touch as well
  • Knowing and meeting her needs
  • Expressing gratitude regularly.”

“But most importantly, take a moment every day, and set your brain’s Google search engine, your RAS (reticular activating system) to looking for how she blesses you, loves you, and encourages you every day. What she does for you, how she smiles at you. Look for all of those things.I

I continued: “If you’re not very intentional about what you are looking for, your brain will let you down and begin looking for her faults. It will begin focusing on what she’s doing that’s not quite right, and even though unconditional love is pouring from her to you, you will totally miss it the great things! Don’t let that happen!”

Of course, I encouraged her to do the same things.

Holding on to one another like it was their last moment together, they both committed to investing in, and nurturing their relationship. Their love. Their intimacy. Their connection.

What about you? How can you begin to daily invest in and nurture the unconditional love in your relationship? 


“Real love,” says Harville Hendrix, “is a verb. It’s a behavior in which the welfare of another person is the primary intention and goal. Love as a verb isn’t dependent on how you feel or even what you think. Instead you make an unconditional commitment to the other person.” 

In our culture, we tend to think that kind of love, unconditional, love, only exist in fairytales, or the few who get “lucky.”

The truth is, unconditional, love requires work. Yes, it is a verb not a feeling. And you must work through the challenges and frustrations that create that kind of deep love and bonding. Does it take years? It doesn’t have to.

It took my couple several months, but we spent the first month working through his trauma. If you will roll up your sleeves, find the help you need… Whether it’s a workshop, videos on YouTube, a Coach, a therapist, or a workbook… You can see transformation fairly quickly.

IF … you are willing to roll up your sleeves, do the work, and stay with it until you cross the finish line into unconditional love and abundant living!

I can promise you it’s worth every bit of the effort made! Unconditional love is possible for everyone!

Champions treasure it.

And they are willing to do the work.

Because there’s nothing else like it.

And there’s nothing like unconditional abundance in love, and an abundant life with another human being that you love and admire! 

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

– Maya Angelou