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4 Habits of ALL successful Relationships | Dr. Andrea & Jonathan Taylor Cummings

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

ALL relationships face a similar set of hurdles. We all need to be equipped to get over the hurdles, so that our relationships don’t just survive, but thrive. Based on over 20+ years’ experience of working with countless couples, Dr. Andrea & Jon Taylor-Cummings share their observations of the 4 fundamental habits that all successful relationships exhibit. Dr Andrea & Jon Taylor-Cummings are co-founders of Soulmates Academy – an organisation on a mission to reduce relationship and family breakdown across the globe, by proactively educating people to develop strong relationship capability. As a key part of this vision for social change, they help organisations equip people to build healthy relationships at home so they can perform better at work, improve wellbeing and mental health, and achieve better work-life balance. As City professionals and entrepreneurs themselves, over the last 20+ years, Andrea & Jon have leveraged their first-hand experience of the inevitable relationship challenges of high-stress careers to help countless couples strengthen communication and relationship skills, overcome challenges and improve happiness. Andrea & Jon are recognised authorities on the subject of couple relationships and marriage, with numerous public speaking engagements and several TV and Radio appearances in the UK. Their book is due out soon. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at


ChatGPT Summary (Via Tool)

In this TEDx talk, Dr. Andrea Taylor-Cummings and Jonathan Taylor-Cummings discuss the four habits that they have observed in all successful relationships. These habits are: effective communication, the ability to manage conflict, the practice of showing appreciation and gratitude towards one's partner, and the importance of maintaining a strong connection through physical intimacy and shared activities. The speakers also discuss the negative impact that relationship breakdown can have on mental health and suggest that adopting these habits can help to prevent such breakdown and improve overall well-being.


# 4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships | Dr. Andrea & Jonathan Taylor-Cummings | TEDxSquareMile - YouTube


## Transcript:

- ([00:03]( [Music] have you ever stopped to think why is it that only very few people have an amazing relationship did they just get lucky are they the chosen ones perhaps I think seriously most of us would agree wouldn't we that great relationships take work the problem is more often than not we have no idea what to work on well over the last 20 plus years now working with countless couples we've observed that all successful relationships every one of them exhibit four simple yet fundamental habits which we want to

- ([00:52]( share with you over the next 15 minutes or so the great news is that these are habits that we can all learn and develop and when we do we significantly increase our chances of having one of those amazing relationships if we don't chances are you probably never will every failing relationship we've ever seen has lacked one or more of these habits as we were reminded just recently over Sunday lunch and what a Sunday lunch that was we invited well we met this couple socially connected well with them because we shared similar city

- ([01:32]( backgrounds let's call them Rachel and Steve so we invited them to have lunch with us to discuss the business that Steve wanted to launch but as we ate and chatted which started sensing that Rachel wasn't happy at all so I leaned across and I said Rachel what do you think about this business idea and her response said it all I know nothing about this and he never discusses anything with me so John and I just exchanged quick glances to say this is serious what we're going there and then suddenly the thin wallpaper

- ([02:11]( covering the cracks just started to peel off and I'll tumble the frustration and the disappointment and anger and the fact that Steve was working away from home more and more and when he did come home on the weekends he would sleep downstairs in the living room so far and then Steve dropped the bomb you know that if it wasn't for those two boys I'd have left you a long time ago now we do spicy food but that what's a bit more spice than we were planning for Sunday lunch precisely now we'll come back to

- ([02:50]( Rachel and Steve story but I guess you already know their story is by no means unique let me share some stats with you with divorce rates around 40% in much of the developed world and cohabiting couples breaking up at much higher rates of 60 to 70 percent the stats tell us that around half 50% of all long-term couples simply not doing the distance now what that tells us and don't look around now but either you or the person sitting right next to you is a Rachel or Steve it is that's that's the reality

- ([03:33]( now this emotional trauma is also spilling over and impacting our mental health in their 2016 report the Mental Health Foundation issued the stark warning that the absence of quality relationships is get this it's killing us faster than obesity and lack of exercise and all of this is having an impact on the next generation as well research out of the marriage foundation has shown that the single biggest predictor of teenage mental health let's guess what family breakdown their research goes on to show that where

- ([04:12]( couples separate the children are 10 to 15 percent more likely to have mental health problems than where the couple stays together these are big numbers now all of this goes to explain why the epicenter of Mental Health today is currently in our 16 to 24 year olds that's where it is and of course none of this is without cost family breakdown in the UK it's costing us UK taxpayers a whopping 51 billion pounds a year it's a huge number it's almost half what it costs to run the entire National Health Service

- ([04:50]( relationship breakdown is a huge huge problem it is and to solve a problem of this scale borrowing a phrase from medical science what we need are better fences at the top of the cliffs rather than just more ambulances at the bottom and in relationship land these four habits are strong fences you see all relationships go over a similar set of hurdles triggered by life events it could be setting up house together or having that first baby or in a work context being promoted to positions that involve or demand more time away from

- ([05:29]( home and so these hurdles show up as unmet expectations poor conflict resolution instead styles trust and respect issues and poor communication outside of abusive relationships success comes from being equipped to get over these hurdles smoothly because stumbling at hurdle after hurdle just leads to frustration and when people feel frustrated and stuck with nowhere way forward they end up going their separate ways our experience over the last 20 years confirms that mastering these four habits get you over the hurdle it's not

- ([06:16]( about being perfect we're not perfect but it is about being intentional in developing the habits shall we share the habits okay absolutely so the first of the habits then be curious not critical helps you get over the hurdle of frustration that comes from unmet expectations and we learned this one ourselves the hard way our story goes all the way back to thirty years ago when we first met at business school when Andrew came to the UK to get her master's and ended up getting him her mr. as well and don't

- ([06:56]( don't let the current hairstyle fool you that was me back then anyway a few years on we set up in business together and it took us all of about three months before the wheel started to come off because very quickly realized there are different work styles were grating against each other now and because now we had all our eggs in one basket the financial pressure was just huge on us so everything became a problem even simple things now for some couples it's the toilet seat up or down for us the single biggest predictor was the state

- ([07:39]( of our desks one was very organized yeah and one was more like organized chaos shall we say and the challenge the problems would happen arguments when we had to swap desks to use the single desktop computer that we had this is 25 years ago but now because we're together 24/7 the problems will follow us home so many a night was spent in tension you know hugging the edge of the mattress rather than each other so forget about any physical action we weren't even touching toes back then you talked about wallpaper over the cracks now it was

- ([08:17]( Einstein who said you cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that got you there so in desperation we looked around we said yeah how can we change these mindsets that we have and we came across a material that helped us understand that actually our biggest source of frustration was really just our strengths just unrecognized unappreciated and out of balance so habit number one be curious not critical it's all about investing the time to and how were wired differently so that we can learn to play to our strengths

- ([08:50]( rather than waste time and energy criticizing differences so given these differences habit number two be careful not crushing helps us get over the hurdle of poor conflict resolution styles our natural fight or if fight or flight responses a very me Center it's about looking after me and my interests rather than being off-centered so we need to literally reprogram these automatic responses by developing the skills and habits that allow us to turn out better to conflict situations to take care of each other through the

- ([09:28]( process to work towards genuine genuine resolutions no matter how angry we might be with each other one of the disciplines that we developed was to set ground rules which are boundaries that would control our behavior in conflict situations so that we didn't keep falling at this hurdle over and over again for example we agreed we would never hit each other we would never walk up the house in anger and we would never threaten divorce just to be spiteful let's face it we're going to disappoint and frustrate each other from time to

- ([10:04]( time anybody who says they never argue either lack passion or they are lying through their teeth but habit to be careful not crushing helps us learn how to work together argue well treat each other with care and come out stronger together for sure and habit number three ask don't assume helps you get over the hurdle of frustration that comes from mistrust and disrespect that can creep into relationships so back to Rachel and Steve it turns out their single biggest challenge was different perceptions of respect in their relationship although

- ([10:52]( they came from the same cultural background Steve had grown up with a very traditional mindset and his expectation was that his wife would be like and do for him like mom did for dad in fact more than that he expected that Rachel will become best friends with his mom and learn how to be his ideal wife that way Rachel on the other hand she's thinking on what planet because in her mind they were never going to have a relationship that looked anything remotely like Steve's mum and dads now recognizing that they needed additional

- ([11:27]( information to reframe the challenges in their minds we shared with them some material around mutual respect and how to agree roles and responsibilities in the different seasons of life and we were blown away when literally before the week was out Steve sent me a text to say you know thank you so much this has really helped us unblock some challenges and have a real proper conversation in years so habit number three really is about getting good at having those courageous conversations that see us asking and discussing rather than

- ([11:58]( assuming and stereotyping and that leads us neatly onto habit number four connect before you correct which is about learning how to communicate real value and appreciation and holding back on our insatiable need to give constructive feedback when you live and work with somebody day in day out it is so easy to take them for granted and just to be constantly on their back but as the saying goes people go where they feel welcomed but stay where they feel valued so we need to be deliberate about finding meaningful specific ways that

- ([12:37]( build warmth in the relationship and that can sometimes be simply breaking the routine for us we've been known to disappear in the middle of the working day to go to the movies after a period of intense workshop delivery and 25 years on we still take date night seriously to keep the fun and the anticipation and the intimacy in the relationship otherwise we risk losing the magic and just become functional around the grind of work and talking about children and cooking and laundry and we signed up for more than that so

- ([13:12]( habit number four connect before you correct oh no let's be real before I say that if we get really good at connecting in our routine conversations guaranteed you'll be connecting in the bedroom as well so number four Connect before you correct it's about being deliberate about shifting that balance to connecting before we correct each other now listen we're not sharing these habits just as nice to have these four habits can literally save lives let me share with you how Rachel and Steve story almost

- ([13:54]( ended we met up with them two weeks later for a coffee and from their body language we could tell they were in a much better place they were holding hands they were laughing things were good but as they opened up and shared about the experience we were rocked when Rachel in describing her emotional laws just paused and said you know I found myself thinking that if Steve did go ahead with a divorce I just write him a letter tell him to look after the boys and walk in front of a bus but for a chance conversation with

- ([14:39]( us and a bit of information tragedy could have struck our friends right under our noses and so reality hit really hard that day relationship breakdown can literally kill us we're happy to report that Rachel and Steve continue to do well but we asked ourselves the question how many Rachel's are we missing and with this growing concern over mental health and well-being why is relationship equipping still left to chance exactly we all invest in the things that we value our education our homes our pensions

- ([15:30]( even so what in the world is stopping us from investing in our relationships what would the world look like if everyone was practicing these habits of being more curious than critical more careful than crushing of asking rather than assuming and of connecting more than we correct here's the thing when we all start developing and practicing these habits not only do we significantly increase the chances of our relationships surviving but now we begin to thrive as individuals as families as companies as nations and if we can each

- ([16:23]( just take responsibility for developing these habits in our own relationships together maybe just maybe we'll leave the world a better place for the generations to come [Applause]


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