Kathy and Brandon Gunn received one of those dreaded time-will-tell-when-to-open gifts at their wedding. Naturally, like the eager young couple in sizzling love they were, they thought Aunt Allison had left them a marriage-saving secret (actually, she did, but not in the way they expected).
If I were in their shoes, I’d die of curiosity. 9 years???
Unfortunately, they couldn’t be sure. She left them with strict instructions not to open the gift. The side of the white-wrapped box read: “Do not open until the first disagreement.” They obediently left the gift sitting untouched in a closet. Surprisingly, they didn’t touch the gift during their first disagreement, a decision that turned out to be a wise one .
9 years, two kids, and plenty of fights later, they finally opened the gift. They were amused, amazed, and touched by what they saw.
The storm could be fierce, but it might not be the hurricane
In a Facebook post, Kathy wrote about all they went through and conquered before the gift was opened.
“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.”
They couldn’t bring themselves to accepting that each fight was the worst they’d have. What if they opened the box and ended up having a bigger one? What then would save them at that point?
“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.’”
The opening… and the realization
The couple had a wedding to attend in Kalamazoo, and they needed to come up with a suitable gift to present to their friends. They’d just put their two children to sleep and were brainstorming over wine. Kathy was thinking about her own wedding day, and she recalled the special gift their aunt had left them. They’d moved three times over the years and the box was always kept in the storage room of each new house. It had become a part of their lives that way, sealed and bound.
Well, that night, things were about to change – it was time to open the gift. Oddly, they weren’t having a disagreement or quarrel, their marriage was actually quite well. They just decided to open the box. They found two hand-written notes inside; one addressed to Brandon and the other to Kathy. Other things they discovered included a slim wad of cash, a delicate crystal flower vase, two gem-studded wine glasses, a full shower kit, body cream, and air pockets.
The note to Brandon read: “Go get flowers and a bottle of wine.” Kathy’s note read: “Go get a pizza, shrimp or something you both like.”
Everything in the box, along with the food to be purchased, were supposed to help them get through the first disagreement. A romantic pizza/shrimp dinner, flowers, wine, a shower, and probably a massage.
“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 wrote. “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.” They were touched by the message in the gift and thoughtfulness of their aunt.
The idea behind the gift wasn’t actually the items. Their aunt could have just written those down on paper and handed it to them on their wedding day. She could have told them what to do each time they had a fight. Instead, she gave them a more valuable gift. She taught them patience and perseverance. They could have opened the gift at their first quarrel, but they held on. What if it got worse?
They got to a point in their marriage where they knew they couldn’t do without each other, and then they opened the box. Waiting 9 years to do that helped them build a wonderful marriage full of love, trust, and patience. They’d always believed the box would save their union – and it most certainly did. Just not in the way they’d expected.
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