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Nicole Kidman shares the unconventional marriage rule she has with husband Keith Urban

They've had this communication rule since the very beginning of their 18 year relationship.

Keith Urban (left) Nicole Kidman (right)

Long before Nicole Kidman began her long-term relationship with AMC theaters, she was committed to husband and country singer Keith Urban. The two have happily been together since 2006—which is a good run for any modern day marriage, but most certainly a Hollywood one.

And perhaps their nearly decades-long success can be partially attributed to one surprising communication rule: no texting.

While appearing on the Something To Talk About podcast in 2023, Kidman shared that she was the one who initiated the unconventional agreement.

"We never text each other, can you believe that? We started out that way – I was like, 'If you want to get a hold of me, call me…"I wasn't really a texter.,” the “Moulin Rouge” actress shared.

She added that while Urban did attempt texting her a few items early on, he eventually switched when Kidman wasn’t very responsive. And now, 18 years later, they only call each other.

“We just do voice to voice or skin to skin, as we always say. We talk all the time and we FaceTime but we just don’t text because I feel like texting can be misrepresentative at times…I don’t want that between my lover and I,” she told Parade

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There are, of course, some pros and cons to calling over texting. Research has shown that people who call feelmore connected to one another vs. texting, with the voice being an integral component of bonding. As our society becomes increasingly more distant and lonely, finding those moments might be more important than ever.

At the same time, calling can invoke a lot more anxiety compared to texting, which could lead someone to not communicating at all. Also, I don’t know about you, but the thought of having to call my partner for mundane things like “don’t forget the eggs” would drive me crazy.

But regardless of whether or not you adopt Kidman and Urban’s no-texting rule, perhaps the bigger takeaway is that relationship longevity depends on being able to establish your own rules. One that feels good and that each partner is able to stick to. Especially when it comes to communication.

As Urban himself told E! News at the CMT Music Awards, "I have no advice for anybody,You guys figure out whatever works for you…We're figuring it out. You figure it out. Everybody's different. There's no one size fits all."

Luckily, there are many ways to have good text hygiene, without having to do away with it completely. Very Well Mind suggests to avoid texting too many questions, and to be respectful of your partner's schedule (probably best to not text them while they’re sleeping just to say “hey,” for example). Nor should texting be used to argue or deal with conflict. Lastly, probably save the lengthy, in-depth conversations for a phone call. Fifteen heart emojis are totally fine though.

Gretchen Kelly (left), Annie Reneau (right)
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When I was a kid, we had an entire living room shelf full of photo albums to pore through when we wanted to relive family memories. Now, several decades later, we flip through digital albums, instead. But the feelings that family photographs invoke are still the same. Every photo tells a story, and some photos hold tales and truths that are particularly dear to our hearts.

I was visiting with my friend Paula recently when she pulled up a sweet old photo of our sons together.


Paula Fitzgibbons

Paula and I met in a parenting group 15 years ago. Our oldest daughters were nearly identical in age and we both had newborn babies, so we started planning regular play dates together.

Soon those play dates became a lifeline to our own sanity, and our friendship blossomed. We got together several times a week for years, essentially raising our kids together. Paula didn't have any family living nearby — no grandparents to gush over her children, no cousins to bond with — so our family became their extended family.

"I entered parenting without having been parented well myself," says Paula, adding that our marathon playdates gave us a chance to parent in a community. "Sometimes I'd even call and say, 'I can't parent today. How about if I do all the cooking and you do all the parenting?' So we did. In that way, I learned how to be the parent I never had."

While our girls were same-aged peers, our sons were seven years apart. Paula says that her son Sevvy had always wanted a brother, and when my Isaac was born, it was like Sevvy's wish was fulfilled. Indeed, our boys grew an incredibly sweet bond, less like friendship and more like brotherhood. Isaac followed Sevvy around like a puppy, and Sevvy doted on Isaac with a mixture of mentorship and protectiveness.

Life happened and we eventually ended up moving to different parts of the country. Our boys are now 18 and 11, but we still get together and reminisce about how those formative years meant so much to both of our families. This photo encapsulates the joy and care that defined our families' relationship.

Annie Reneau

Gretchen Kelly also has a precious sibling photo, but hers holds beautiful, bittersweet memories of her beloved baby brother, Todd.

At 16, Todd was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare type of bone tumor that generally hits people at a young age. He was eight years younger than Gretchen and 11 years younger than their older sister. "He was the baby of the family and spoiled rotten by all of us," Gretchen says. He passed away in 1999 at age 18.

"There's a photo of he and I that tugs at my heart because he has his arm casually draped over my shoulder and it perfectly captures our relationship and dynamic," says Gretchen.

Gretchen Kelly

"I don't remember what he said when we took this picture, but I know he said something to make me laugh while he stayed casual and cool for the photo. That was his way. He could keep a straight face and make you laugh in spite of yourself. And he could ALWAYS make you laugh."

"This is the picture that always leaves a lump in my throat," she adds. "It makes me smile—it is exactly how we were together. He was the baby brother who I adored, but at times, as he matured, it was as if he was the older sibling. Protective and wise beyond his years. But mischievous. Always mischievous."

Gretchen keeps another photo of Todd on her "inspiration wall" in her office, this one during his cancer journey.

Gretchen Kelly

"Obviously cancer was already taking something from him at this point," she Gretchen. "But not his smile. He somehow made all of us laugh and smile even when we were terrified of everything he was going through. I keep this picture on the wall in my office. His smile is what I will always cling to, his determination to not let cancer steal his joy or his humor. This serves as a reminder of determination and grit. When things get hard, as they tend to do, I look at this picture and he reminds me we can do hard things, and sometimes we can smile through it."

Photos aren't just snippets of our lives — they are images of joy and love, of family and community that can move us and inspire us. But these days our photos frequently get lost in the digital deluge of modern life. They end up archived on a hard drive somewhere or buried deep in social media.

Google Nest is trying to make it easier to keep treasured photos front and center with the Google Nest Hub — a device that serves as a digital photo frame and personal assistant. You can choose any album from Google Photos, such as "Family" or "Favorites," and the Nest Hub will display them on rotation. The Live Albums feature takes the work out of updating the photos by letting you create an album that automatically adds photos of the people who matter to you most. You can share a Live Album with anyone you want, just like any other album in Google Photos. The Nest Hub even adjusts to the lighting in the room so your photos look less like images on a screen and more like real photos.

Here's to the snapshots that remind us of our loved ones at all stages of life. They truly are among our most precious belongings.

Google is providing Nest Hubs to USO families to help them feel closer this holiday season. Join us in supporting the USO at uso.org/googlenest.

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U.S. Army
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For most people, the holidays are the busiest time of year. There are parties, trips to the store, school plays, parades, religious services, countless hours spent decorating and cleaning the house, and that long line at the mall to see Santa.

But in the end, the season is all about spending quality time making memories with the people we love. Unfortunately, we can't always see all of our loved ones over the holidays. But these days, it's a lot easier to stay connected with grandma and grandpa or our kids off at college.


Here are five great ways to connect with our loved ones this holiday season, even if they're miles apart.

1. Share holiday memories with the Google Nest Hub

The great advantage of the Google Nest Hub is that you can use it to automatically upload photos, so loved ones can see these memories as they happen. The digital photo frame is connected to shared albums through Google Photos, meaning everyone who has access to the album can contribute. You can choose which photos are displayed, or allow the Nest Hub to choose its favorites. As an added bonus, the Nest Hub also acts as a virtual assistant which makes it easy to keep everything you need at your fingertips and stay connected to loved ones with just the press of a button.

Purchase a Nest Hub here.

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2. Share a meal through the mail

One of the quickest ways to warm the hearts of your family memories is by sharing a traditional meal. If your aunt in Chicago can't make it to your big family holiday celebration, you can send her some of your special stuffing that reminds her of home.

Here are some great tips on sending food through the mail.

3. Connect with multiple family members all over the world through Google Hangouts

If you have a big family stretched around the globe, Google Hangouts allows you to do a live video chat with up to ten people. It works via a Web browser, Android app, iOS app, Chrome app, or via an old-fashioned landline phone (voice services only).

The app is available in any of the aforementioned app stores.

4. Watch your favorite holiday films together with a Netflix Party

Getting the family together to watch a holiday-themed movie such as "Home Alone," "Christmas Vacation," or "It's a Wonderful Life" is a holiday tradition for many families. Now, through Netflix Party, you can watch a movie with them in real-time. Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that syncs up the film so you can watch it all at once and it has a live chat feature so you can comment on your favorite parts together.

Netflix Party is available in the Chrome web store.

5. Achieve your new year's resolutions together at MakeMe

Staying motivated is tough to do alone. MakeMe allows you to encourage one another, hold each other accountable, and celebrate your achievements. Get the family together and create a goal for the new year, whether it's losing weight, being more mindful, or giving back to the community.

MakeMe is available for in the Android, Apple, and Google Play stores.

Google is providing Nest Hubs to USO families to help them feel closer this holiday season. Join us in supporting the USO at uso.org/googlenest.

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Courtesy of Quinn Hendershot
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Quinn Hendershot and her grandma have always been super close. She's lived nearby in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois for Hendershot's entire life. When she was 13 and her father suffered a brain stem stroke, her grandma moved in with her family to help take care of everyone. Unsurprisingly, Hendershot feels incredibly connected to her.

Even when they weren't living under the same roof, Hendershot got to visit with her grandma regularly while she was growing up, and that didn't change when she became a young woman and was preparing to go off to graduate school.

"When I spend time with her, we do a lot of cooking (she loves to feed me!), as well as running errands together since she can't drive," says Hendershot.

Last year, however, Hendershot's grandma built a house in Colombia and moved there semi-permanently. She was born in Colombia and lived there until she was 17, so she still has a lot of family there whom she wants to reconnect with and help look after.

"My grandma grew up on a farm, and has always wanted to live somewhere where she could keep farm animals like chickens and donkeys," explains Hendershot. "It's a lot cheaper and easier to build houses in Colombia, so when she saved up enough money to build a house there, she bought a plot of land in the country and started building."


While Hendershot is incredibly happy her grandma is finally living out her dream, she misses seeing her all the time. It now takes three flight transfers for her grandma to get back to Chicago to see her family in the states, so she doesn't get to see Hendershot in person very often. But that hasn't changed the grandma and granddaughter's strong bond.

"We text almost daily, and love to send each other pictures," says Hendershot. "She has a cat and a dog that she loves to show me, and I like to send her pictures of my food because she always worries about if I'm eating enough - like any grandma!"

Unfortunately, phone service and internet isn't great where her grandma lives, so it's difficult to talk or see one another in a video chat in real time. When it works, however, it's wonderful for everyone.

"It's great to be able to see her and talk to her face-to-face, as opposed to just over text," says Hendershot. "Text is such a great way to communicate easily, but you do lose a lot of the tones and inflections that make a huge difference in talking to someone you love. I love getting to see that she is surrounded by so much of her family and friends in Colombia, and that she's never lonely."

Courtesy of Quinn Hendershot

Thanks to technology available today, it's easier for Hendershot to stay connected with her grandma. Products like the Google Nest Hub can help bridge the gap while they're apart. The device's photo sharing feature allows the family members to upload and share meaningful images with each other through Google Photos, helping them feel closer even when they're thousands of miles apart.

It's not easy for Hendershot to be so far away from one of her favorite people, but technology like this helps enormously. Getting to regularly see how happy her grandma is enjoying her new house, farm animals, and Colombian family helps Hendershot miss her just a little bit less.

"Knowing about each other's day-to-day lives makes me feel like the physical distance lessens, because we're emotionally so close," says Hendershot.

Google is providing Nest Hubs to USO families to help them feel closer this holiday season. Join us in supporting the USO at uso.org/googlenest.