How many of you have ever tried to convince your spouse to do something that was outside of their comfort zone? Did you have a lot of success? When we have these partners in our lives, we try to share most if not all of our lifestyle with our significant other. This accomplishes two goals. First, we get to do something we are interested in with the person we most want to be around in the world. The second reason is that if our spouse is doing it, we can get away with a lot more, right?
I have seen it hundreds of times with couples that I know. They will take up a new hobby like diving, golf, riding bikes, motorcycles or bowling leagues and instantly this is both a bonding experience and an opportunity to buy all of the “stuff” that their particular activity requires. When you are both involved in the activity, the resistance your spouse might normally voice when you wanted to drop a few hundred dollars for the latest piece of golf gear is lessened. “Honey, I think we both need to get these new Callaway drivers for Christmas. It will make our game so much better”. Honestly, how many of you have tried something very similar to that?
Where does conflict start?
Purely speaking from a prepping perspective (Holy alliteration Batman!), I think most of the resistance we have from our spouses has its root in money. Think about it for a minute. If prepping involved a lot of meditation; do you think our spouses would care one bit about that? I think the main conflict starts in marriages because one spouse feels a compelling need to prepare and the other doesn’t. There isn’t a problem until the pro-prepping spouse wants to start spending money on things the anti-prepping spouse does not feel is necessary. It would probably be the same thing if out of the blue you tried spending money like Tiger Woods on your new hobby. If your spouse thought golf was stupid and a waste of time, they would probably complain about that $400 new driver.
To avoid a lot of the problems we frequently hear about in prepper circles, it is a wise move to get your spouse on board from the very start. Will this lower their resistance to some prepping supplies that you feel are necessary? Maybe, but the main reason is that you two can be a team. When you are both on the same page with preparing for your family, even if you don’t spend one dollar, you will both be better off and more able to survive any situation.
What are some problems getting your spouse on board?
I think for a lot of people we go about discussing the subject of prepping with our spouses the wrong way. I think essentially we set ourselves up for failure when a different tactic could make the conversations go so much better. If you spouse doesn’t know anything more about prepping than what they have heard on the news, it will be your job to teach, convince and sell them in some way on the reasons why prepping makes perfect sense.
In case you were wondering, it is never a good idea to tell your wife a bunch of conspiracy theories while she is reading in bed and offer them as your reasoning for purchasing a bunch of guns, food and ammo.I did not do things the right way and ended up spending a couple of years digging myself out of a hole I dug by overreacting. My story, very briefly is that I started learning about prepping and survival many months before my wife. This was a long time before Doomsday Preppers was on TV so prepping was a relatively unknown word to most of society. I would research and devour every source of information I could get my hands on. I read prepping blogs daily, post-apocalyptic fiction and YouTube videos galore. After doing this for almost a year I had worked myself into a stressed out state thinking about all of the threats we faced and how unprepared my family was to deal with any of them. One night right before bed I unloaded all of the things I was concerned about and my plans for all of the things I wanted to do (things I wanted to buy) to ensure my families survival and my rational for believing all of these things.
I think we get caught up in the need to prepare for unforeseen events for a lot of legitimate reasons, but we don’t take our spouses along for the ride until it is too late. This can catch them unaware and leave them trying to convince you about how wrong you are instead of hearing the logic you are trying to get across.
How to talk to your spouse about prepping
Most everyone has heard of prepping now thanks to a lot of media on the subject. Some of it has been good and some bad, but I honestly believe that preppers are not thought of as loonies as much anymore. It may be that you and your spouse have already had some conversations around the main subjects of prepping like storing food and water or having some means of self-defense. If you are already walking down that road together, that is great.
For those who either have a spouse that is completely opposed to anything that looks like prepping, or else they humor you in some capacity or worse don’t know you are prepping because you are keeping it a secret from them; these tips are what I would recommend to get them on your team.
What to do
- Focus on safety – Almost everyone can see the logic behind safety and this can extend in almost every effort that we focus on as preppers. Storing extra food will prevent you from going hungry should you not be able to get out to the stores. Anyone who has heard of people being trapped in their homes for any number of reasons should accept this. Additionally, stocking up on a week or two worth of groceries isn’t going to make too many people upset. I wouldn’t go out and buy a years’ worth of MRE’s at this point though.
- Illustrate lessons from real-life events in the news – There have been so many stories in the news that validate the need to prepare that you can easily point to in order to convince someone of the need to prepare. There were more than a couple spills last year that contaminated entire cities water supplies. You don’t have to say anything about prepping to stock up extra water, just point to those news stories and say you are saving water in case you can’t drink or shower with tap water like those people in Charleston.
- Take it slow – You don’t have to present your grand plan for being prepared to your spouse on day one like I did. Start with something simple like storing some extra food or water. Do you live in areas prone to hurricanes? It should be simple to take steps that a lot of us who live far from the coast would have a much harder time selling. Instead of buying the entire prepper arsenal and thousands of rounds of ammo, you could start with a good home defense weapon. First, I would convince your spouse of the need to have something like this (of course if you believe it is necessary) for their safety. You just want something for home protection and you can point to home break-in statistics to bolster your argument. There will be time for all of the other weapons you could need in a full on collapse if you so choose, but baby steps.
What not to do
- Do not list ANY conspiracy theory as your motivation – This is almost always a bad idea unless your spouse is into conspiracy theories. Prepping doesn’t need a conspiracy to make it valid. If you want to convince someone why prepping is important, I would not talk about government tyranny, threats of wars, the confiscation of guns or anything like that. At least not in the beginning.
- Do not open with buried cache ideas– Hiding gear and supplies underground is a new kind of odd for people who can’t see the justification for doing things like that. Save those ideas until a later time when your spouse might see the benefit, or could bring this subject up themselves. I am still a little surprised when my spouse brings up ideas I have been thinking about on her own. Along the same lines, don’t throw out all of the wonderful prepper acronyms and talk about SHTFand TEOTWAWKI while admonishing your children about the importance of OPSEC.
- Do not argue about how wrong they are – My first mistake with my wife, when I tried to convince her about prepping was to argue with her and tell her that she didn’t know what she was talking about. That was a bad move because now it didn’t have anything to do with prepping, it was about her defending herself from my accusations. Prepping might stir big emotions in your mind because of your fears, but they should not get in the way of you communicating to your spouse about what you think is necessary. Removing the more incendiary pieces of prepping is a good way to keep the conversation about safety. You want to keep the family safe. Food, Water, Shelter and Security can easily fit into any home. The world is crazy enough; you don’t need to tell your spouse they are wrong about the zombie threat.
Prepping is better when your entire family is on board. Prepping should be concerned first and foremost with your family’s safety. How do you plan on keeping them alive if some situation affects them? That is the conversation. I think if you can keep them thinking about safety, ignore the conspiracy (until later) and take slow steps towards goals that might be years down the line, you should have more success. I know I did.
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Contributed by Pat Henry of The Prepper Journal.