Across the board, wedding gifts are a relatively common occurrence. You may occasionally hear about a unique present, but for the most part, folks stick to the register and buy you the items you requested.
You and your partner will soon be surrounded by dishware, kitchenware, and towels with custom monograms. The mystery gift that Kathy and Brandon Gunn got on their wedding day, however, surpasses even the most unusual wedding presents.
Alison, Kathy’s great aunt, gave Brandon and Kathy Gunn a unique gift upon their marriage. A card bearing the message “Do NOT open until first disagreement” was attached to the wedding gift.
As a result, whenever a disagreement developed, Brandon and Kathy discussed whether to open the box. Over the course of their years as husband and wife, Kathy admitted that there had been “plenty of disagreements, arguments, and slammed doors.”
“There were even a couple of instances where we both considered giving up, but we never opened the box,” she added.
However, they constantly questioned, “Will we need it more the next time?” ‘The box was still sealed after nine years, and Brandon and Kathy decided it was time to open it—not because they had recently argued, but rather because it had been so long since they had.
One night, the couple retreated to their deck to enjoy a glass of wine they started talking about a wedding that was coming up in Kalamazoo, where they had met and gone to college after Kathy put her and Brandon’s 6-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old to bed.
The discussion quickly changed from how thrilled they were for the vacation to what gift Kathy and Brandon should get the soon-to-be husband and wife. Kathy tried to remember which gifts were most meaningful to her on her own wedding day as they sought to decide on the ideal present for the newlyweds.
She and Brandon, according to Kathy, were “too stubborn and determined” to open the box. They avoided it because they perceived it as a failure symbol.
“The funny thing? The gift that meant the very most was still sitting in a closet… unopened,” Kathy wrote, “To us, it would have meant that we didn’t have what it takes to make our marriage work.”
“Was it really time to open the box? What if this isn’t our worst fight? What if there’s a worse one ahead of us and we don’t have our box?” they questioned each time they considered opening the box, with every disagreement, the gift forced them to reassess the situation.
Kathy and Brandon decided it was time to open the box. So, for nearly 9 years and 3 moves, the box sat high on a shelf in their various closets, gathering dust. “As my Great Uncle Bill would say, ‘Nothing is ever so bad that it couldn’t get worse,’” Kathy said.
The present was just some bath salts and money for wine, nothing remarkable. But at that point, they understood the true gift was what it had taught them about marriage and love.
They discovered some cash inside along with two handwritten messages, one for Kathy and the other for Brandon. The note to Kathy read, “Go get a pizza, shrimp or something you both like.” While Brandon’s told him to “Go get flowers and a bottle of wine.”
A crystal flower vase, two crystal wine glasses, bath soap, moisturizer, and bubbles were also included in the present, which was plainly intended to allay any tension from their first argument. But what was in that package was more priceless than Aunt Alison had ever imagined.
Kathy said, “All along, we assumed that the contents of that box held the key to saving a marriage – an age-old trick – unbeknownst to us rookies,
“After all, my Great Aunt and Uncle had been married for nearly half a century. So, we thought the box would save ‘us’ – and in a way it did.”
The nine-year-old gift made the Gunns laugh, but over time, the mystery box had grown to mean so much more to them than just free wine and pizza. The couple’s capacity to overcome minor disagreements that may have otherwise damaged their relationship was made possible by the sheer fact that the present existed.
After discovering she and her husband no longer required the box, Kathy wrote, “Our marriage strengthened as we became best friends, partners, and teammates, the tools for creating and maintaining a strong, healthy marriage were never within that box – they were within us.”