Kathy and Brandon Gunn had been married for over nine years, but they still had one unopened wedding gift. The bride’s great aunt Alison gave the Michigan couple the present, a white box that stood on a shelf in their wardrobe.
Strict instructions were scribbled over an envelope attached to the delivery. It said, “Do not open until the first disagreement.” The couple was resolved to comply with Aunt Alison’s request, but over time, they refused to open the box for a purpose other than what she had meant.
Despite the fact that the couple had their share of problems throughout their marriage, they decided not to open Aunt Alison’s gift. Kathy revealed why she and her husband had waited so long to accept the present in a Facebook post.
Kathy stated that they had a lot of conflicts, disagreements, and slammed doors throughout their marriage. She said there were even a couple of times where they both thought about giving up, but they never opened the box.
That all changed one night after Kathy and Brandon put their 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son to bed. With their kids well asleep, the couple retired to their terrace for a glass of wine. They started talking about a wedding they were going to in Kalamazoo, where they met and went to college.
While discussing how eager they were for the trip, Kathy and Brandon began to consider what kind of gift they should purchase for the husband and wife. Kathy reflected on her own wedding day as they sought the ideal present for the newlyweds, attempting to recall which items meant the most to her.
“The funny thing? The gift that meant the very most was still sitting in a closet… unopened,” Kathy wrote. Kathy and Brandon were too stubborn and determined to open the package, according to Kathy. They avoided it because they saw it as a sign of failure. She said that to them, which would have indicated that they didn’t have what it takes to make their marriage work.
The present prompted them to reconsider the issue after each quarrel. ‘Was it really necessary to open the box? What if this isn’t their toughest battle? What if there’s a worse one ahead of them and they don’t have our box?’, they wondered each time they thought about opening the box.
As her great-uncle Bill would say, ‘nothing is ever so bad that it couldn’t get any worse,’ Kathy said. So the box remained high on a shelf in their different closets for about 9 years and 3 moves, collecting dust. But, when Kathy and Brandon sat on their porch, talking about their friend’s approaching wedding, they thought it was time to open the package.
They discovered two handwritten messages, one for Kathy and one for Brandon, wrapped around some cash inside. The letter to Kathy said, “Go get a pizza, shrimp, or something you both like,” while Brandon’s said, “Go get flowers and a bottle of wine.”
The present also included a crystal flower vase, two crystal wine glasses, bath soap, lotion, and bubbles, all of which were clearly intended to soothe any negative sentiments that arose during their first argument. That package, though, held something much more important than Aunt Alison had anticipated.
Kathy said that all along, they believed that what was inside that box held the key to saving a marriage—an age-old trick—unbeknownst to them rookies. After all, her great-aunt and uncle had been married for almost 50 years. So they felt the box would rescue “them”—and it did, in a manner.
"Tonight, we tucked our kids in bed and my husband and I enjoyed a glass of wine on the deck. We were talking about how…Posted by Love What Matters on Monday, 29 August 2016
Kathy and Brandon Gunn acquired acceptance, compassion, compromise, and tolerance as the box lay unopened year after year, forcing them to re-evaluate if each fight was “bad enough” to warrant the aid they imagined the present contained. They were eventually able to open the present as they realized how solid their marriage was.
Kathy remarked that their marriage blossomed as they became best friends, partners, and teammates, after realizing she and her husband no longer needed the box. The tools for building and sustaining a strong, healthy marriage were never contained within that box – they were within them.