Ryan and Trista Sutter Celebrate 17th Wedding Anniversary After Sharing His Struggle with Mystery Illness
Ryan and Trista Sutter are marking 17 years of marriage.
On Sunday, the couple shared heartfelt tributes to one another on Instagram in honor of the special milestone. They wed on Dec. 6, 2003, in the Bachelorette's first-ever televised wedding, which aired as a mini-series titled Trista & Ryan's Wedding.
"More handsome today than he was on this day 17 years ago, but not only because I see him through the eyes of the mother of his children. Because he continually works to better himself...and us. Because he is the most humble, hard-working, generous, sincere, kind-hearted human with the biggest heart and even bigger muscles," Trista, 48, shared, along with a black-and-white photo of her husband from their wedding day.
"Because his bravery and resilience is something I personally strive for. And that smile and those eyes. I mean... they pretty much slay me. Happy anniversary, Mr. Sutter and thank you for giving me the best years of my life. HIF. #mylove #mybestfriend #myhero #mydreamcometrue #happyanniversary," the mom of two wrote.
Ryan, 46, who shares son Maxwell, 13, and 11-year-old daughter Blakesley with his wife, also posted a black-and-white photo for his loving message.
"Thank You. For 17 years you’ve been there for me. Through good times and bad, sickness and health, blue skies and rain. You’ve stood by me through difficult times, supported me through change and sympathized with me through struggle," he wrote. "You've shown me grace and taught me gratitude. You challenge me and inspire me. You exemplify love and are a wonderful mother. You are my light, my reason and my hero. You are the best thing that's ever happened to me and the love of my life. Thank you. I love you. Happy Anniversary Mrs. Sutter... #love."
Their 17th wedding anniversary comes a week after Trista first shared on Nov. 30 that Ryan, 46, has been "struggling for months" with his health. They recently “found out that Ryan doesn’t have cancer,” which was a relief, but also added to their frustration that he still does not have a diagnosis.
"I know I should be thankful, but I don’t want to be fake. And, I’m struggling. This guy...my rock, my best friend, my hero, my love...is struggling. Not everyday, and not to the point that he can’t work or cook or exercise or be with family, but enough," she wrote on Instagram. "We’ve been struggling for months. Struggling to get answers."
Ryan, who works as a firefighter, said in his lengthy Instagram post that it has been five months since he first started feeling off, "and, if anything, I feel worse."
The father of two, whose doctors have not been able to find any "conclusive" diagnosis, added, "Though I am functional and continue to work my regular fire schedule, I am experiencing a battery of symptoms which include: fatigue — sometimes almost paralyzing, deep body and muscle aches, fevers, night sweats, full body itching with no rash, headaches, neck and throat swelling, congestion, lightheadedness, nausea and just general all around not feeling good."
In an exclusive statement to PEOPLE last week, they thanked their fans for their support. "Ryan and I are humbled by the outpouring of support we have received. At this time, we kindly ask for privacy as our family deals with this difficult matter. Your love and kindness means the world to us," their statement read.