When wedding bells ring, the day is a glorious one. It is filled with laughter and celebration, everyone is happy and smiling, and it is a memorable day for the bride and groom. After all the guests leave and before they have their honeymoon night, traditionally the new husband and wife look forward to opening up their gifts. For one couple however, they left one unopened on purpose.
Kathy and Brandon Gunn have been married for nine years, but up until recently they still had one unopened wedding present sitting in their closet. They were married on September 1, 2007 and have refused to open up their last remaining wedding present this whole time. It was just sitting in their closet, waiting to be opened, but Kathy and Brandon never wanted to. They hadn’t actually, until they finally decided to do so this past May.
The gift was from Kathy’s great aunt Alison with an envelope attached to the outside reading, “Do not open until your first disagreement.” Surely there have been many disagreements and arguments between Kathy and Brandon during the past nine years. There were even a few times where they both considered giving up. However, they both refused to open that box. Kathy shared on the Love What Matters facebook page:
“There were even a couple of instances where we both considered giving up…but we never opened the box.”
An invitation to another wedding got Kathy and Brandon thinking about what present to buy the newlyweds. Thinking about that reminded the couple that they still had one unopened present still sitting in their closet from their own wedding. The reason why they never opened the box is because they associated that particular present as if they were failing in their relationship. They were both too stubborn to ever open it, but thinking about the present got them to thinking about their overall relationship. Kathy continued on her facebook post:
“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.'”
So on that night in May when they were reminded of their own unopened present, Kathy and Brandon were sitting out on their deck together and enjoying a glass of wine. They finally decided to open aunt Alison’s wedding present up, and they were happily surprised with what was inside the box.
Kathy and Brandon ended up finding two hand written notes wrapped around some cash, bath products, a vase, and some wine glasses inside. One of the notes was addressed to Brandon while the other note was addressed specifically to Kathy. Brandon opened his letter up and was instructed to use the cash to buy flowers for Kathy along with a bottle of wine. Kathy opened her letter up and was instructed to buy a pizza and to get a bath ready.
Both Kathy and Brandon always saw that present sitting in their closet as something negative or as a curse that opening up that present meant there was something wrong with their relationship. After opening the present up after all these years, they are grateful for the lessons Kathy’s aunt taught them. On her facebook post, Kathy wrote:
“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.”
The couple have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son together. Like any couple, they have had their shares of ups and downs. Most couples don’t have a nine-year-old unopened wedding present sitting in their closet, but for Kathy and Brandon, they are sure fortunate that they did. Kathy concluded:
“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. Life throws so many twists and turns at all of us, outside of marriage, and dealing with those problems can be difficult without someone to count on, lean on, confide in or cry with. Brandon is my constant. No matter what struggles I am faced with, I know that I can always count on him to be in my corner and me in his. It’s so much easier to get through life when you have someone that will always be there for you and that would do anything for you, no matter the day or time.”
It is so beautiful to see Kathy and Brandon strengthen their marriage with one another even after all of these years. By waiting so long to open up that wedding present, they have only grown closer together by accepting the lessons that were found inside.
Watch this video to learn more about this beautiful story.