It is a common tradition to make freshly married couples a wedding gift. Usually they are things where one believes they help those in their new phase of life or sentimental things that say more than objects that can be bought with money.
The story of Kathy and Brandon Gunn shows a unique wedding gift. The two have been married for more than 9 years now and still haven’t unpacked it.
The gift came in a white box that remained on the top shelf of her closet. The great aunt of the bride, Aunt Alison, presented them with the gift and wrote the following: “Do not open, until the first disagreement”…
When Aunt Alison presented the gift to the Michigan couple, they agreed to comply with her wish and not to open it directly.
Of course, in the course of their young marriage, the newlyweds Americans had differences of opinion and arguments among themselves, as all couples do, and when they do. Nevertheless, they refused to open the gift, but for reasons other than the one Kathy’s aunt had named.
In a Facebook post from Kathy, she explains the reasons why they left the box locked: “There were of course many differences of opinion, discussions and slammed doors after 9 years together. There were even situations where we were both about to give up… but we never opened the box.”
“I seriously believe that we both avoided opening the box because it would have symbolized our failure. For us this would have meant that we had not managed to make our marriage a success – and we are both too stubborn and dogged to admit it. So it forced us to re-evaluate situations. Was it really time to open the box? What if this isn’t our worst fight? What if there’s a worse one and we don’t have the box anymore? As my great uncle Bill would say, ‘Nothing’s so bad it couldn’t get any worse.'”
Then one night changed everything. Kathy and Brandon had put their two small children to bed and enjoyed a glass of wine. A conversation began, about the upcoming wedding in Kalamazoo, which they would visit, where they had also met at that time and went to college.
In the middle of the enthusiastic discussion, they thought about what to give to the married couple. It was Kathy who thought back and wondered what her wedding present was that made the longest impression.
“The funny thing? The gift that meant the most was still in the closet… unopened.” Kathy told me.
The box had remained in the closet for nine years and three removals. Out of fear that there would be an even worse confrontation where they would need it more.
That evening, as they talked about their friends’ upcoming wedding, they decided to open the box.
There were two handwritten notes in it – one addressed to Brandon and one to Kathy – plus some cash.
“Go buy pizza, shrimp or anything you both like.”was on the message for Kathy, while Brandon’s message was: “Go get some flowers and a bottle of wine.”
They also found a crystal flower vase, two wine glasses, bath soap, lotion and a bubble bath, all designed to calm Kathy and Brandon in a heated argument.
But it wasn’t the material things that meant so much to Kathy, it was the powerful message behind it.
“We thought the contents of the box would contain the key to a successful marriage – an ancient trick – unknown to newcomers like us.” Described Kathy. “My great aunt and great uncles were married for almost half a century. So we thought the box would save us – and in a special way it did.”
The box stands for teaching the couple that it takes patience, understanding and compromise to turn away from each other.
In the end, they didn’t open the box when they didn’t know what to do, but when their marriage was strong.
It’s a wonderful story and a brilliant gift from Aunt Alison.
The path of love is never straightforward, never easy to steer. But when this love is real, you fight for it and go through the most difficult times. And as dark as the moments seem in part, you have to fight together against the problems and should never forget to say “I love you”.
Share this heartwarming story with your friends so they too can see that love should never be written off.