The One Thing That Will Save A 'Hopeless' Relationship, According To A Neuro-Strategist

This is key to ensuring a relationship lasts.

Last updated on Apr 28, 2024

Couple being vulnerable with each other hoping to save hapless relationship Tais Bernabe | Canva

There is something that is so profound in human relationships, that it has the power to turn around even the most challenging situation in an instant: vulnerability. Although some may mistake it for weakness, the truth is that vulnerability is actually your greatest strength. That's because standing in front of another person with a mix of raw honesty, radical authenticity, and compassion may actually be one of the greatest acts of courage some people will ever perform — and it is a pillar of strong, loving relationships.


How to wield the power of vulnerability to save a 'hopeless' relationship? Let me give you an example of how vulnerability can shift the course of a relationship in a heartbeat. I have a set of clients who are dangerously close to a divorce. It really is a "make it or break it" moment, so there is a definite sense of urgency. For the time being, they have both bought into the idea of withholding judgment — long enough to see how that goes during our work together in the coming weeks. Talk about a tense situation.

RELATED: 5 Honest Ways To Fix Your Relationship When You Feel Hopeless

In one session, I helped them understand a recent argument from a new perspective, which was game-changing. When I heard what started it all, I helped them come to a new understanding of the real issue underlying the disagreement. Armed with this new information, I asked the husband what his wife really needed to know at the moment as the fight was raging.


It was in that very instant that everything changed and even I was almost taken aback by the suddenness of the shift. I saw his face soften, his voice almost cracked and there was a different tonality in his voice as he said the words his wife had needed to hear from him for a long time. As I looked at her face, it was clear that I was not the only one taken aback. Then I asked her what her husband needed to know. Her response was heartfelt, raw, and filled with a new level of humility. It was a huge and powerful turning point in their relationship.

RELATED: 3 Ways To Reconnect With Your Partner When You've Become Emotionally Distant

When I talk about this profound power, some people have no idea on earth how to access it. The very thought of lowering their guard or softening a chosen stance is enough to send them running in the opposite direction. It's almost as if "fight or flight" were their only two options. Luckily, they are not, and frankly, neither of them is even remotely effective if you want a solution. They try "everything" — except the one thing that actually works.

@giaaldisert advice from a girl in a 6 year long relationship #relationshipadvice #arguments #communication ♬ original sound - gia

Albert Einstein famously said, "You can never solve a problem on the level at which it was created." As I said in my scenario with the couple on the edge of divorce, the solution was not in the issue that caused the fight. Once we addressed that, we shifted everything. It's time to see beneath the "fog of war" and get down to what's real — that's where the solution can be found. The fog only muddies the picture, blinds both parties, and prolongs the battle, while increasing the damage. When two people constantly dig in and fortify their positions, a fight is the only possible result. When just one partner takes a step back and drops their "weapons," healing can begin.

RELATED: If You're Constantly Looking For Ways To Save Your Relationship, It Deserves To Die

Yes, I understand that this is a lot harder than it sounds. It's hard to let go of pride and take a risk and then get hurt "yet again." Focusing on workable, permanent solutions and creating a safe space for both parties can resolve relationship issues rather than rehashing them. Most people think they're limited to terrible choices like fight or flight, or saving face versus losing half of everything they own. There are always multiple choices and the one that shifts everything is called vulnerability.


RELATED: To Fix A Broken Relationship, Do These 7 Things In Order

Dave Elliott is a relationship coach, human behavior specialist, and author of The Catch Your Match Formula. He has appeared in multiple media outlets and publications, including eHarmony, PopSugar, Latina, Psych Central, and Fox News, among many others.