Nine years may seem like an exceptionally long time to refrain from opening a gift, but, for Kathy and Brandon Gunn, it was worth the wait.
Back in May, the couple sat on their deck with a glass of wine and expressed their excitement about an upcoming wedding. This discussion caused them to think about their own wedding nearly nine years prior and about their favorite gifts.
The Gunns soon realized that the wedding present that was the most meaningful was still sitting unopened at the top of their closet. It was a plain white box with a card that said, "Do not open until your 1st disagreement" given to them by Kathy's Great Aunt Alison.
About a week ago, Kathy shared her story about the gift on the Love What Matters Facebook page.
"Now, there had obviously been plenty of disagreements, arguments and slammed doors throughout our nine years. There were even a couple of instances where we both considered giving up … but we never opened the box," she said.
"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.' "
That night, the couple finally decided to open the gift. Inside of the box was two hand-written notes addressed to each of them wrapped around some money along with a pair of wine glasses, a vase, and some bath products. Kathy's note instructed her to draw a bath and use the money to pay for a pizza. Brandon's note told him to spend the cash on flowers and a bottle of wine.
The present was incredibly thoughtful and sweet in and of itself, but it meant even more to the Gunns when it remained unopened.
"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," Kathy said. "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."
But what exactly made it so important?
"For nine 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," Kathy said. "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."
(H/T: Huffington Post)