You receive a wedding invite in the mail. You know the drill – you send the happy couple a note of congratulations, you check their registry, you find a wedding gift that you feel will enrich their newlywed life and then gift it to them at their reception.
In this story, however, newlywed Kathy and Brandon Gunn had a different experience when they received a unique wedding gift from Kathy’s Aunt Allison – and didn’t open it for over nine years.
A Unique – And Meaningful – Wedding Gift
The Gunn’s received the mysterious wedding gift from Aunt Allison with these specific instructions written along with it: “Do not open until 1st disagreement.” They promised to honor her wishes and ended up storing the gift on the shelf in their closet.
Obviously, the couple didn’t go nine years without a single disagreement. Of course, there were plenty of squabbles and bickering matches, but Kathy explained in her own words why they continuously chose not to break open the gift:
“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.’” (1)
Finally Opening The Wedding Gift
The moment the couple decided to finally open the wedding gift wasn’t actually during a disagreement. One night, Kathy and Brandon were discussing the upcoming wedding of their good friends, trying to decide on the perfect gift for them. They thought back to their own wedding and the gifts that had meant the most to them.
“The funny thing? The gift that meant the very most was still sitting in a closet… unopened,” were Kathy’s words. (1)
Though they had avoided opening the gift for so many years in fear there would be a future occasion where they would need it more, they finally decided it was time.
Inside the gift box were two handwritten notes, one for Kathy and one for Brandon, and then some cash. Kathy’s note read: “Go get a pizza, shrimp, or something you both like” while Brandon’s read: “Go get flowers and a bottle of wine.” Along with the notes and cash, there were also two wine glasses, a flower vase, bath soap, lotion, and bubbles, essentially everything the couple would need to help overcome a disagreement or difficulty together.
What stuck out to both Kathy and Brandon the most about the sweet, thoughtful gift wasn’t so much the material things as it was the message behind the gesture. In Kathy’s words:
“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.” (1)
Storing the gift in their closet helped teach the couple about patience, understanding, and compromise, and their resilience as a couple strengthened every time they could have turned to the gift but didn’t.
When they finally opened the wedding gift, they were able to see how strong their marriage had truly grown to become and have only continued to move forward, hand in hand, together.