Text Marriaging.

If I were the Al Gore type, I would definitely proclaim that Chris and I discovered text messaging.  Because I kinda feel like we did.

It all started in 1999.

We were dating, I had just started college, and Chris was in college and working full-time.  We didn’t have a lot of extra time for chatting sweet nothings, but we both had pagers.

(I think they had just gone from being referred to as “beepers” to “pagers”, if that helps with understanding the times any better.)

(And we did also have cell phones, but I had the 100 minutes a month plan, so I knew that I could talk 3.33 minutes per day to avoid having to pay my college tuition over again in overage charges.)

So we used our pagers to their fullest potential.  We would send each other a bunch of numbers, like this set…


…and then would spend the time we should have been listening to our college professors consulting our cell phone keypads to decode each other’s super cheez-fest sappy-sweet messages.


Behold.  The dawn of the text.

A couple of years later, now newlyweds, we had new-fangled Nokias (with the super-granulated black and white screens), and we found a weird little feature hidden deep in the voicemail section of said phones.

Text Messaging.

“Hey babe – what do you think this does?”

“I don’t know – I’ve never seen it before.”

“Well, let’s try it.”

I painstakingly typed out a message, hitting each number button multiple times to choose my letters…

4..4..4 – I

5..5..5 – L

6..6..6 – O

8..8..8 – V

3..3       – E

3..3..3 – Y

6..6..6 – O

8..8      – U

A second later, Chris’ phone chirped with a sound we’d never had before.

We looked at each other in awe and wonder.


“I know…”

“This is so much easier than using our pagers!!!”


And we were hooked.

Our friends made fun of our geeky form of communication.

“That is the stupidest feature I’ve ever seen on a phone.”

Our family wondered what we were doing, incessantly punching our number pads like idiots.

“Wouldn’t it be easier to just call him?”

And I remember one pivotal moment in the history of texting when we taught my boss, the owner of a telephone company, how to text.

At least he appreciated the potential.

Of course, you know the rest of the story.  Chris and I singlehandedly taught the world how to text, and now every car accident is blamed on them and all of the tweens of the world don’t know how to communicate face-to-face because all they ever do is text, blah blah blah.

But texting has always been, and continues to be, a very valuable part of our marriage.

Not only has it allowed us to stay in cheezaliciously romantic contact throughout the day, but it has created the opportunity for a very important marital tool:

Emotion-Free Communication.

There have been so many times that we’ve had the opportunity to be irritated with each other, creating a downhill emotional spiral.  But because we were texting instead of talking, the emotions could be separated.

(Sure, I can text emotions, but by the time I’ve typed “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?!?!”, I realize how harsh I’m being and erase it all.  Unfortunately, my verbal filter doesn’t work this efficiently, hence my love of text.)

Last Friday morning was a perfect example of such an event.

The kids and I  were planning on going to an Easter Egg Hunt and Picnic at the park with some friends.  I started getting everyone ready 30 minutes earlier than I needed to, but yet, the chaos devoured those thirty minutes and made every step of preparation intensely difficult.

…Ali wanted to ask me 813 questions about my favorite color and second favorite color today, and what my fourth favorite color would be tomorrow.

…Noah was angry and teething and wanted to be held the entire time.

…And if I wasn’t holding him, then he was punishing me by getting into cabinets and throwing everything out.

…And when he finished getting into the cabinets that weren’t child-proofed, he began prying at the ones that were and getting his arm stuck, then angrily complaining about the state of his life.

…Ali wanted to ask 568 questions about the Easter Egg Hunt.

…Ali wanted me to watch her do this trick.  Then that trick.  Then this trick.

It was just one of those mornings.  And all I could think about all morning was that there was no way I could ever handle this Mommy thing with more than two kids.  How do people do it?  They must be superheroes in disguise.  Yes, that’s it.

After an hour of bodyslamming wrestling us all into our clothes, I began our picnic preparations.

(Have I ever mentioned that I hate picnics?  I’ve decided that I don’t believe in them.  Packing for them is too impossibly complicated.)

The child-created chaos only heightened.

I’m. Losing. My. Mind.  There’s no way I could ever handle this with more than two kids.  How does anyone do it?  Oh yeah – they’re superheroes in disguise.

Finally, I finished our picnic preparations and we headed downstairs.

At which point I discovered that Ali’s booster seat was not in my car.

Chris had taken the kids out the night before while I was gone to a baby shower, and I couldn’t find where he’d left her seat anywhere.

So I texted Chris again.

text marriaging b

What you can’t see in that message is that my head was exploding.

(Okay, you might can sense it a little bit but it would have been EXTREEEEMELY apparent if this conversation had been verbal.)

If we weren’t texters and I’d had to call Chris in attempts to locate Ali’s chair, there is absolutely no way that I could have not let my temporary feelings show through my tone.

And then he would have gotten defensive.  Or more likely (and worse), overly angry at himself and then insistent that he fix the situation.

Then I would have gotten angry because we were already running late and I didn’t have time for him to fix it.

Then he would have gotten angry and….you see where this is going.

Emotional meltdown for all involved.

But instead, I breathed deeply.  I remembered that there are much worse things in life than a chaotic morning and missing booster seat.  I took a minute to be grateful that Chris had taken the kids out to dinner the night before by himself so that I could go to a baby shower.  I solved my problem, we moved on, the picnic was lovely, and I got over it.  Without ever having to transfer any of my unnecessary emotions to my husband.

A bit later, I was able to text him (quite genuinely) this reassurance:

text marriaging c

And all was okay, thanks to texting, and it’s ability to separate emotions from communication.

Text Marriaging: we invented that, too.

Disclaimer: I am aware that Alabama law states the use of a booster seat until the age of six.  However, Ali is 5 1/2 and taller than most six year olds, my CD case was nearly the same height as her booster seat, and I was desperate.  Don’t hate.  Or call CrimeStoppers.

Leave your comment below!


  1. Love it! I really need to get a phone that texts. (I still have a flip open cell phone that I am terrible at keeping charged and with me!)

  2. Kitty Engle says:

    hmmm…..maybe would should try this since I have, what I have been told, are terrible tones in my voice. Might save alot of unnecesssary arguing.

  3. What I find most interesting is that you own a phonebook….what’s that for??

    • They magically appear on my doorstep, and I always feel guilty throwing them away. What to do? Perhaps I should consult Pinterest – she’s bound to know.

  4. OK, I could learn a lesson from you guys! I have a pea-sized filter for words and tone when I am frustrated or mad. Neal prefers text anyway, this being one of the reasons I’m sure. I tend to feel like we MUST talk now and it must be hammered out now and sometimes that’s just not the way – especially when major huge emotions are involved. I’m gonna try the text thing more and the “must make the call so I can be heard” thing less. :)

    • I know what you mean. In moments of “heat”, I also often think that I need to convey the extreme nature of my feelings about a situation. But usually, those feelings are fleeting and inaccurate, so it’s best to give myself a few minutes to collect my head (and my logic) and move on!! I think it’s the inherent nature of human beings to feel like the moment that they are in is THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT, like, EVER. And it rarely is. :)

      Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  5. I hated texting when you had to hit the number three times and I would almost assuredly hit it once too many meaning I’d have to hit it three more times but then the sequence was all off and ….oh it just spiraled down from there.

    and no hate here. a phone book and seat belt sound perfectly safe to me! our “car seat” for Caleb is most commonly referred to as an “ergo.” :) and well, the older two, I’ve learned that if I want to ruin one of their t-shirts, I should strap them in with the seatbelt…so covered in dust in grime from the un-use that it left it’s mark all over Eden’s white t-shirt. Car seat laws are different in china : nonexistent. :)

    • Babywearing in the car would be SO NICE. There were many times I wished that ability when Noah was a screaming, car-hating baby. Little did I know all of my problems could be solved by simply moving to China.

      • LOL!! You could move to india too.. you can either have babies toppling over in the back seat as the car seat is not a mandate OR
        Babies buckled by arms of grannies + uncles + aunts + cousings + neighbour aunty taking a lift + a dog/cat (whatever u have) + a crate of 6 dozen mangoes.
        Baby will never be bored. It works!

  6. I’m sad that we live in a world where that disclaimer is necessary and that without it people won’t just understand that “stuff happens” and proceed to read you the car seat recommendations asifyoudidn’talreadyknow.

  7. Finally you have shown me a way in which texting can actually be more efficient than a voice conversation. This totally makes sense. Unfortunately I’m all thumbs and can take 5 minutes to text a single sentence. When feeling angry I can only imagine how much more inept at texting I would be than normal. And yet to maintain peace and harmony in the marital relationship… it might be worth brushing up on my (non-existent) texting skills! I found your explanation of how you and your husband invented texting quite interesting as well. (And now I know who to blame!)

  8. Wow, I am really impressed with that pager texting! I love texting for these reasons too! I have definitely typed out a text, realized how bratty I’m sounding, and deleted it. It really does help diffuse the emotions when you read what you’ve written.

    We had a very similar (frustrating) situation last week when T took too long to register for the conference he went to (and asked me to go with him to) and we had to stay at two different hotels because they filled up for the second night. We never ‘fight’ but texting has saved us much marital discomfort!

  9. There are many, many things I could respond to in this post, but, of course, it’s me, and so I’ll say the first two things that popped into my head as I read:

    1) Wow, I am so impressed with their grammar, punctuation, and spelling while texting (and you know I love me some of all of those!)

    2) I totally read “more than two kids” as “two more kids” (both times) and thought, “Holy Snikies! How did I miss that she’s having twins??!” : )

    • We are both grammar nazis, especially on texting. Just because we invented texting does NOT mean that we approve of text shorthand. Also, capital letters were invented for a reason. And we use them.

      And no twins here – that I know of!!! (Now I’m nervous)

  10. I *heart* texting.. Some might say it’s a marriage saver!

  11. What a cute post! Your codes from early in your relationship are so cute and sweet.

  12. Love it! I always delete what I texted because it sounds bad when I read it too. So, I usually end up texting – I love you babe!
    Texting makes our marriage better. :-)

    • Yes, I’ve done that text too!! It’s a good substitute when you know you can’t say anything nice. And then my attitude usually gets better, and no harm has been done!

  13. Oh yes, my husband and I text all the time too and like you said, it can help. Except when I text in caps. And I do. Sometimes.

    • …and you can’t claim “accidental” on text-capping like you can keyboard-capping. “Oops – I must have never looked down!!”

  14. I believe texting is what really launched the current cell phone boom. It costs the cell phone company nothing (it goes over the voice network, not the data network so they didn’t even have to upgrade their equipment) and so anything they charged the customer was probably about 99% profit.

    And then came SMS messaging, camera phones, and you could send pictures via text (though that did use the data network and required some equipment investment)…

    And then came social networking… and maps… and apps… and streaming video… and the ability to control just about anything in your life including your TV, your car, and even your kids (if you don’t mind a little Angry Birds addiction)…

    I am really looking forward to what cell phones can do next. I’m currently on a cell phone hiatus since my husband was laid off, had to give back the company phone he was using, and is now borrowing mine. It is surprisingly painful. And although I know that financially I would probably be better off just walking up to the CEO of Verizon Wireless and handing him my paycheck, I still WANT. IT. BACK.

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