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Jessica Alba says maintaining one-on-one time with her husband can be a struggle while they parent three kids.
The actress, 40, and Cash Warren, whom she wed in 2008, share daughters Honor, 13, and Haven, 9½, plus son Hayes, 3½. In a conversation on Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt's Instagram series Before, During & After Baby, Alba gets candid about keeping her marriage strong even when they're busy with their kids and careers.
"I think that he probably gets the short end of the stick. And it's not even him, I would say it's us," she admits. "When I'm seeing him and spending time with him and we're really enjoying each other, it's an 'us' thing and it feeds me as well. It's hard. It's impossible."
"It's all rosy for two and a half years. But then after that you become roommates," Alba says with a laugh. "You're just going through the motions. You have the responsibilities; it's a lot of, like, checking the boxes, right?"
Alba says she and Warren used to "at least" do weekly date nights, "but then that stops because of whatever." She explains, "We're just not consistent. But being able to communicate when you're unhappy and nipping it right away instead of letting it sort of fester, and then you have animosity and then it explodes — which we've gone through that one!"
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"We have, obviously, the friendship, the comfort of 'you're not going anywhere,' so sometimes you don't treat those people the best. You don't consider their feelings in the way that you would consider other people's feelings," continues Alba. "That is something I think is a constant one to work on."
During the date night times they set aside to spend with each other, they don't talk about "annoying" day-to-day stuff, Alba says, instead connecting over other conversations.
"That time is when you really shouldn't talk about the annoying stuff that you talk about during the week anyway. It is the time to sort of get past that and check in in a different way. But it's hard. It's really hard," she says.
"It's a life journey," adds Alba, "and if you're both every day deciding to do it, it's gonna work out, regardless of the drama, regardless of anything that happens. If you're both like, 'I want to figure this out,' nothing can really break that. The second one of you is checked out then it's a one-sided relationship. Because you're not always gonna be on the same page, and you're not always gonna grow at the same pace."
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Speaking on her own relationship, she says that she and Warren are both "ambitious people" who "always" support each other in their individual careers.
"We don't try to break each other's spirits," she says. "Even if I'm like, 'Oh, he's growing, he's doing something else, he has other interests, this is different than how it was,' instead of feeling threatened by it, I am like, 'Okay, what is exciting to him now? What is he interested in or why is he passionate about that?' More curiosity."
"One thing that Jessica and I are 100-percent aligned on is that we're not raising a------s," Warren said at the time. "If they get out of line, we're not going to stand for it. We've tried to maintain the values our parents taught us."
"I don't shy away from setting boundaries and routines," Alba added. "They have to make their beds. They have to set the table, clear the table — those are no-brainers, right? They participate in taking care of the home and themselves."
The couple also revealed their individual strengths as parents and how they balance each other out. Said Alba, "Cash has the ability to pull himself out of a situation. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the moment, especially when there's a challenge or conflict, and he is just so much more relaxed. I learned from him to make the time that we have with the kids really count."