updated 01/14/2014 AT 4:15 PM ET
•originally published 01/15/2014 AT 8:00 AM ET
After 26 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, most couples have fizzled relatively quickly. But for Trista and Ryan Sutter, and four other couples from the reality dating franchise, love has been everlasting.
“The way we got together is so not normal,” Trista, 41, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “But we do live a normal life. Yes, we met in a fantastical way, but it’s really what we did after the show that mattered.”
So what’s their secret? Moving away from Hollywood (the couple raise son Max, 6½, and daughter Blakesley, 4½, in Colorado) and focusing on their relationship.
“When the show was over, I saw Trista didn’t need the cameras,” Ryan, 39, tells PEOPLE. “Our roots grew deeper and deeper.”
For more on how the Sutters and four other couples made their love last, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday