I live there... and I love the neighborhood.
As is the case anywhere you live, be aware of your surroundings and report suspicious activity to the police (Zone headquarters is located right next to ZooAtlanta). You can sign up for crime watch reports on the Atlanta Police Department web site... then sign up for one in Dallas, GA... you may be surprised at the comparison.
As to commute times the trick is to work around the I-20 to Connector north interchange. Or just deal with it. Once you're past Freedom Parkway it opens up all the way to 400 north (most days that is). I suggest you and your husband spend the night with your friends and try the commute one or two days.
Having grown up in Atlanta's suburbs I promise you'll appreciate "life inside 285!"