In your novel “Patriots” and in many articles of SurvivalBlog, people discuss what to do when TEOTWAWKI comes. The one thing common in most of the situations is doubling up at a retreat. My wife and I have some experience in this and I want to pass some information on to help people prepare for the situation they may be facing.
My wife and I moved in with her parents about 13 months ago due to financial hardships. We were living in Arizona and struggling to make ends meet. I was working a job that covered about 90% of our bills and paying for the rest on credit cards. I was unable to find a second job, even fast food places weren’t hiring, and my wife was unable to find any job as well. I quit attending college, the reason we were living in Arizona in the first place, and was only eating one meal every other day. I made a promise to my father-in-law that I would never let his daughter go hungry. My wife was eating three meals a day and didn’t know that I was not eating. We eventually decided to move to Washington State and stay with her folks. They had plenty of work for us to do and they have plenty of food. I was able to find a job and get out of debt. We are almost finished building an apartment attached to their workshop.
Here are the lessons we have learned the past 13 months of doubling up:
Make sure you are comfortable with whoever you plan on living with. My in-laws and I share the same belief system and moral values. However we come from completely different backgrounds. Even with attending the same church, voting the same way, and sharing common goals, including stocking up for future needs, there are conflicts. For one thing I live at my in-laws house and part of the agreement is that my wife and I listen to their rules. It is a good agreement, but not one that is always easy to live with. If you are the one planning on moving in with someone else make sure you are comfortable with them being the boss. I would suggest reading and studying Phillipians 2:3 especially if you are planning on moving in to someone else’s retreat. (“[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”)
Be sure you know what the expectations are. Everyone must pull their own weight or conflicts will arise. I work graveyard shift and sleep during the day. Because of this I have to work extra hard around the house on my days off so that conflicts don’t arise. In a true TEOTWAWKI situation you will not be able to just take a drive into town to cool off. You will be living with them 24/7 and better build a good strong relationship now before you live together. It is best to have at least a verbal agreement of what everyone’s job/expectations are, a written agreement is even better.
Be aware of the little things. Normally a person’s annoying habits aren’t that bad, but when people are already stressed out the little annoying things tend to get under our skin and cause bigger problems later. If something annoys you there are two things you can do, talk to the person and try to work it out, or don’t let it bother you. The second option doesn’t work to well when you are living together 24/7 unless you are very thick-skinned. Personally it takes a lot for things to bother me, my wife on the other hand is a lot more sensitive. Learn how to deal with conflict now, Blessed are the Peacemakers.
In the novel “Patriots“, the fictional character T.K. was the group’s “Peacemaker” giving advice, praying with people, and holding church services. Personally I would say that this is the most important position of any group. At the moment my wife and I are able to attend church regularly with her family. We have an outstanding pastor that we all love dearly. What happens though when it is no longer safe or possible to drive to church? There needs to be someone that the group can trust and feels comfortable with that can give sound, Godly advice and help to avoid conflict.
Overall the best thing my wife and I do to cope with conflict in the house is to make sure we have our personal devotions and family devotions and prayer time. Conflict will arise no matter what, but especially in high stress situations you want to maintain a good healthy relationship with those you will be staying with. – Richard C. in Washington