Her entrance into the celebrity spotlight began when she was the runner-up on season 1 of ABC’s popular reality show The Bachelor, but when Trista Sutter starred in the first season of The Bachelorette and fell in love with and married Ryan Sutter she made an unforgettable impression on unscripted TV.
The couple allowed ABC to broadcast their nuptials, Trista & Ryan’s Wedding, on television and the beautiful affair drew over 26 million viewers, making it one of the most widely watched episodes in the history of reality TV. Much to the dismay of naysayers, the couple’s marriage has stood the test of time and has remained intact for over 11 years.
Sutter went on to appear on other reality TV shows like ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, NBC’s Fear Factor, and most recently Marriage Boot Camp, but the happily married wife to her firefighter husband is now mom to two kids and has joyously settled into her peaceful reality near Vail, Colorado.
“We live a completely ‘normal’ life… ,” Sutter tells Tinseltown Mom. “Waking up, getting the kids ready for school, getting our work done, going to the gym, socializing, then of course getting the bedtime stuff done, homework, then starting the day all over… We live a very blessed life… We can raise our kids in such a place where we’re surrounded by beauty and we have definitely learned to appreciate that.”
Sutter is pleased to have paved the way for what has become part of American culture. “… I’m proud to be part of what has grown into such history. I mean, ‘who would have thunk it?’ that it would be 13 years later? It’s completely crazy and out-of-the-box, and I’m traditional, but it is my history. It’s my legacy. I think it’s just about what we did with our relationship after the show obviously, but it’s about what we’re able to do… like my entire book…”
For the past 6 years Sutter has been writing her “favorite part of the day” on social media (#favpartoftheday) and in the process found a passion organic to her. She reveals that gratitude has helped her through hard times and kept her grounded so it was only fitting that her book, Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart, came into existence. “Each chapter is based on a different relationship of your life… so the relationship you have with yourself and with your kids, your spouse, your friends, your co-workers, extended family, strangers. I tell stories in those chapters based on all of those relationships, from both my life and other people’s lives that I’ve met, just inspirational stories that spoke to me and that I wanted to share. I found a lot of medical research along the way about how gratitude can truly make your life happier.”
The original bachelorette also shares how acquiescing to a life of gratitude has benefited her marriage. “I think it’s about expressing it whenever you can… There’s a section of the book where I talk about Valentine’s Day, obviously on holidays get gifts for your loved ones, your spouse especially, but don’t let those be the only days that you express your love and appreciation for them. I think it’s about outwardly expressing your gratitude for people who are most important to you, which is hopefully your spouse… We try to leave each other little notes or texts, or just hugs… verbally saying ‘thank you,’ ‘I appreciate you,’ ‘I recognize what you are doing.’ After the holiday rush I was just drained and he totally picked up the slack. He was making school lunches and doing dinners every night… and I of course verbally expressed that (gratitude) to him. I think it’s really important to remember that it’s not just about the token holidays that you say ‘I love you’ and ‘I appreciate you,’ but as much and as often as possible.”
Unfortunately, a lot of mothers are overworked, stressed-out and can’t quite muster enough positive strength to recognize anything to be grateful for in their life, but the mom of two offers her take. “One of my best friends in Miami is a mother of three. She has a full-time job… married and social and all these things. She was running to the grocery store one day and had to get something really quick… she ran in and she ran out, and there was this lady in a wheelchair that had dropped something… so she picked up her dropped bag and the lady said, ‘Thank you so much, maybe I should take you home with me.’ My friend said, ‘that would probably be a whole lot better than the chaos that I have to go back to,’ and this stranger said, ‘just so you know, I really miss the chaos,’ and she was an older lady and I think just that story right there, it made her stop and think. ‘You’re right, I’m blessed…’ She’s blessed to have the family that she does and blessed to lead the life that she does. Just that story alone I feel like it’s such a good reminder… so many people say it goes by so fast, cherish it while you can. I completely understand that people go through hard times, whether they’ve lost jobs, or a spouse that’s lost a job, or they’ve lost loved ones or can’t pay the bills or whatever it may be that they’re struggling through. Just trying to see those positive things in your life will allow you to see more positive things. If you’re looking for positivity, you’re going to see positivity. If you’re looking for negativity you’re always going to see negatively. I think it’s just about changing your focus and your intentions and thinking about this lady missing the chaos and trying to cherish that.”
The hands-on mom also teaches her children the importance of gratitude. Every night Sutter asks her kids, Blakesley, 5, and Maxwell, 7, what their favorite part of the day was. “Just getting that in their mind to focus on the positive. I like to do it at bedtime, for myself and for them, because I feel like number one, once you get into the groove of it it makes you go throughout the day and think, ‘oh, that’s going to be my favorite part of the day…’ and it keeps your eyes open to the positive things throughout the day…”
Sutter’s long-standing marriage is a record not only by Hollywood’s measure, but by societal standards so we solicited tips from her to help those moms trying to fit in time with their spouse, but having a difficult time. “Number one, you need to ask for help. I’ve been doing this lately with our neighbors. We swap sleepover nights. So, on our anniversary Ryan and I got a hotel room, we went to this charity event… and our kids slept over at our neighbor’s house. We got to sleep in and come home when we wanted and they played at their house in the morning, and we’ll do the same thing for them. They can have their kids come over and they can have a night out. Ask for swap time, even during the day if it’s playdate time. Or, if you just want to get a mani/pedi and you say ‘hey, can you watch my kids for an hour? I’ll watch yours next week for an hour,’ or whatever it is. I think initiating that is awesome. And then I think it’s asking for help if you have family nearby, or hiring a babysitter once every couple of weeks. Getting out for a date night, I think, is essential. I think also taking advantage of when they’re sleeping, just being really wise with your time. Time management is huge, when the kids are at school, or when they’re sleeping…. Ryan and I have gotten into this groove where we’ll put the kids to bed and we watch House of Cards at night. It’s our little thing. Just making sure that you spend time with each other, I think, is so incredibly important because you are the foundation of your family. Your relationship with your spouse is the foundation of your family, and if you don’t nurture that then it’s not going to be able to nurture the rest of your family.”
Sutter’s book, Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart can be purchased on Amazon.
To browse Sutter’s Grateful Heart gift collection please visit GloryHaus.com