When Brandon and Kathy Gunn were married 9 years ago they recieved a gift from Kathy’s great-aunt with a note that read “Do not open until your 1st disagreement.” Through 9 years of marriage, the Michigan couple admittedly had more than one argument, but they never opened the present because they feared it somehow meant they had failed. Only now, while trying to think of a meaningful gift for another wedding, did they realize it was time to see what was inside.
They wrote about this wonderful experience in a post on Facebook,
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 excited we were to attend an upcoming wedding in Kalamazoo (where we met and went to college) and discussing what would be the perfect gift for the newlyweds. So, I thought back to our wedding day (nearly 9 years ago) and tried to recall the gifts that had meant the most to me. The funny thing? The gift that meant the very most was still sitting in a closet… unopened.
On our wedding day, my husband Brandon and I received a gift from my Great Aunt Alison. On the plain white box was a card that read, “Do not open until your 1st disagreement.” Now, there had obviously been plenty of disagreements, arguments and slammed doors throughout our 9 years. There were even a couple of instances where we both considered giving up… but we never opened the box.
I honestly think that we both avoided turning to the box, because it would have symbolized our failure. To us, it would have meant that we didn’t have what it takes to make our marriage work – and we’re both too stubborn and determined for that. So, it forced us to reassess situations. 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?!? As my Great Uncle Bill would say, ‘Nothing is ever so bad that it couldn’t get worse.’
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. That box went beyond what I believe my Great Aunt had intended. It was by far the greatest wedding gift of all.
For 9 years (and three moves) that box sat high on a shelf in various closets gathering dust, yet it somehow taught us about tolerance, understanding, compromise and patience. Our marriage strengthened as we became best friends, partners, and teammates. Today, we decided to open that box, because I finally had a realization. I realized that the tools for creating and maintaining a strong, healthy marriage were never within that box – they were within us.”
Inside the box were a pair of letters, one for Brandon and one for Kathy. Kathy’s letter read “Go get a pizza, shrimp or smoething you both like. [Love] Aunt Alison. Get a “bath” ready.” With her letter came a small bundle of cash and a package of luxurious bath accessories. Brandon’s letter read “Go get flowers and a bottle of wine. [Love] Aunt Alison.” Another bundle of cash was found inside along with a beautiful pair of wine glasses.