As the original Bachelorette, Trista Sutter found love on reality television with Colorado firefighter Ryan Sutter. Still happily married after ten years, this mom of two (son Max is 6, daughter Blakesley is 4) has recently published a book, “Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart”. It isn’t a memoir (though she does share lots of the details we want to know about marriage, parenthood and her TV experiences) but instead a reminder about how important it is to be grateful, incorporating research and her own gratitude stories, as well as those of her friends, family and even strangers.
“Expressing your gratitude isn’t an extra,” Trista writes. “It’s everything.”
As part of the usual press circuit (start with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, next co-host The View, then talk to Kate Winn at This Mom Loves), new author Trista kindly agreed to answer some questions for me and my readers.
Photo by Morgan Matters Photography
This Mom: You have so many fans out there who would have been interested in anything you wanted to write. Why did you choose the topic of gratitude?
Trista Sutter: I really want it to be something meaningful. I didn’t want to write something, just to have my face on the cover of a book, but for the stories included to be authentic to who I am and to touch readers in a moving way. Every night on social media, I post my #favepartofday as a way to focus on the positive and reflect on the good things, especially if it was a bad day. It started from there and then ended up taking shape through the stories of others who have inspired me, as well as the research that I found (and have included) from the world of Positive Psychology.
TM: What tricks do you have for pulling yourself out of a slump if you’re having a not-so-grateful day?
TS: I try to take a time-out, breathe, and let myself be frustrated or sad or anxious, but then pick myself up and focus on one of the things I’m most grateful for. That usually ends up being my kids, but for those who aren’t parents, it can be anything…the fact that you ARE breathing, or that you have the capability to feel, or that you are healthy and have a roof over your head. If you allow yourself to experience the rough spots, give yourself grace, and focus on picking yourself up and heading in a positive direction, sometimes that’s all you can do.
TM: Happy tenth anniversary! What made you decide to renew your vows, and to do it on national television? (Trista and Ryan celebrated their anniversary on December 6th, renewing their vows in a December 14th ceremony which will air on ABC January 19th.)
TS: Thank you! We wanted to celebrate this milestone and be able to incorporate our children into an official ceremony focused on our love. Because we met and married on television, we also wanted to share it not only with our immediate family and closest friends, but with the fans who have been so supportive over the years.
TM: Why do you think you and Ryan have been able to make it, when most of The Bachelor/Bachelorette couples have not?
TS: I can’t speak to the other couples, but I can tell you a few of the reasons that I think Ryan and I have been able to make it to 10 years…respect, friendship, love, commitment, trust, honesty, effort, communication, moving to Colorado, keeping each other and our family as a top priority, forgiveness, fun, values, and a very strong support system.
TM: What are your tips for keeping a marriage strong?
TS: Make sure to keep your relationship as a top priority. Make time with each other. Put as much time and effort into your relationship as your career and your hobbies, stay committed and grateful, and your marriage will stay strong.
TM: I get the strong impression from the book that you have no plans to return to physical therapy, but you do hint that you may not yet have found your “final professional path”. What do you think will be next in terms of work?
TS: Physical therapy is definitely something that was in my past, mostly because my mommy brain has removed everything I knew from my memory! In talking about my final professional path, I’m not sure, but I absolutely LOVE where I am right now and could see continuing on in the literary world as a children’s author…at least that’s a hope!
TM: How would you complete the sentence “This Mom Loves…”?
TS: This Mom Loves with a grateful heart.
Thanks so much, Trista! “Happily Ever After” is available in stores and online now (you know your hubby hasn’t shopped yet; put this on your list!), and you can follow Trista on Twitter (and learn her favourite part of every day) here: https://twitter.com/tristasutter.
Bachelor/Bachelorette fans may also be interested in my recent interview with Jillian Harris, too!