For the majority of their 4½-year marriage, Zach and Julie Ertz didn't know what it was like to be a "normal married couple."

Their respective careers -- Zach a tight end with the Arizona Cardinals and Julie a defender for the U.S. women's national team and most recently the Chicago Red Stars -- often kept them apart. They'd have a month together here, a couple of weeks there and maybe a weekend in between. Despite being married, they were in, essentially, a long-distance relationship. They had to rely on their phones to stay connected, texting all day, sometimes FaceTiming six or seven times a day.

"We kind of joked that we had a relationship with our phones because like, if it wasn't for FaceTime, I don't think it would make those days that we weren't together go by easier," Julie said.

One year, they saw each other just 84 days.

"We've been doing this for an extremely long time," Zach said. "And, unfortunately, we've gotten good at it."

But in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world and America went into quarantine, the Ertzes found themselves together all day, every day for the first time since they met while both attended Bay Area universities.

Their life together the past two years has mostly consisted of a training together, rehabbing injuries together, a cross-country move after Zach was traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Cardinals, an Olympics in Japan and two NFL seasons. And for the first time in their relationship, the sense of anxiety they each experienced when the other needed to leave for an extended time to join their team happened only once, when Julie reported to the Chicago Red Stars for the start of training camp Feb. 1. Even that time apart was truncated after she tore her MCL in the season opener.

On Sunday, Julie, who was traded to Angel City FC on Thursday, will see Zach and the Cardinals take on the Bears in Chicago (1 p.m. ET, Fox), where she played for more than seven years. She'll do so with life having changed for the both of them. Mostly for the better.