"Did I think when it all started that I would be married for almost ten years and have two children? No!" Trista says, opening up in PEOPLE's special issue celebrating 25 seasons of The Bachelor.
Trista says she and Ryan, who reside in Vail, Colo., with their two children (son Max, 5, and daughter Blakesley, 4), have been able to create a wonderful life for themselves by choosing when to step into the spotlight.
"We put everything else second to us being together and making a life," Trista says of their approach to reality TV stardom.
"If something comes up that we think is a great opportunity, we talk about it," she adds. "It's about setting your priorities and truly committing to each other. You take advantage of opportunities that come to you but you don't let those take over."
Read more from Trista and Ryan – and other couples who met on The Bachelor or Bachelorette and made it last – in PEOPLE's special issue, on newsstands now