If you’re ever in need of wedding gift ideas, you might find inspiration in the “perfect” present a Michigan couple recently opened after nearly a decade of marriage.
Kathy and Brandon Gunn kept their most prized gift tucked away on a shelf, gathering dust, for nine years. The white box, given to them by Kathy’s great aunt, survived three moves without being unwrapped. It had come with clear instructions that it was to be saved for their first disagreement.
“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,” Kathy admitted on Facebook, “but we never opened the box.”
The reason they hadn’t touched it — despite previous fights — was they were afraid it would symbolize their failure, Kathy wrote. In their eyes, it would’ve meant they “didn’t have what it takes” to make their marriage work.
And they were 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?!”
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, when she and her husband were trying to figure out what to buy for some upcoming nuptials, that something dawned on them.
“I thought back to our wedding day 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.”
“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.
“It somehow taught us about tolerance, understanding, compromise and patience. Our marriage strengthened as we became best friends, partners, and teammates.
“We decided to open that box, because I finally had a realization.”
She could now see the “the tools for creating and maintaining a strong, healthy marriage were never within that box.”
They had the tools within them all along.
So what was inside that box? A set of wine glasses, some bath products and two cards with a bit of money in each.
The one addressed to Kathy read: “Go get a pizza, shrimp or something you both like. Get a ‘bath’ ready.”
Brandon’s note told him to, “Go get flowers and a bottle of wine.”
The simple advice left a profound impact on thousands of people on the “Love What Matters” Facebook page, where it was shared.
Some shared similar presents or marriage tips they’ve received.
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Tracey Sikula and her husband were given a bag of M&Ms from the minister who married them.
“He told us if we ever argue, we are to open the bag together and savour one at a time, letting it slowly melt in our mouth while we reflect on what we have built together.
“The bag still sits in my husband’s dresser drawer, unopened 15-plus years later.”
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Larry Wilks still follows the marital advice he was given almost 50 years ago: take baths together, “whether you sit with your morning coffee, or evening glass of wine, shampooing each other’s hair or scrubbing each other down.”
One woman and her partner always shower together, just like the grandparents of her “soulmate” did.
“It’s a very intimate way to physically care for each other.”
SOUND OFF: What’s the best wedding gift or marriage advice you’ve ever received or given? Share it with us in the comments section below.