I’m writing this article to encourage you, if you’re in a similar situation as I am. I may be writing it also, to encourage myself. I want to say that it is possible to prepare for emergencies to some extent, even if you aren’t exactly doing it as a team. I will share some of my story in order to give you some ideas.
I am a happily-married woman living with a wonderful husband and my four children in a Midwestern state, in a town of less than 5000. I have been increasingly concerned about an economic collapse, and have been educating myself about preparedness in the last 2 years. My husband is not happy with the way the country is going, but also isn’t willing to “over-react”, or get “paranoid”. As a christian woman, I believe that it is my responsibility to submit to my husband with a good attitude, but also my responsibility to see to the needs of my household. How do I balance that all out?
First, I trust in God. He has never failed us. As we have honored Him, and given Him the first fruits of our income, He has always taken care of us. For example, 3 ½ years ago, we became convinced that God’s will was for us to try to become debt free. We prayed that somehow God would provide a way for us to become debt-free. Little did we know that within 6 months, my husband’s job in a large metropolitan area would end and we would sell our house for $30,000 less than we had into it, but still pay off our mortgage. He would end up, not in his profession, but rather working 5 part-time jobs, and we would buy a foreclosed house in a rural area that needed some work. After all of the difficulty we’ve had, we are now debt-free in a nice house, in rural America. God’s ways are definitely not ours!
Secondly, don’t discount the assets you have or want, as something your spouse would automatically reject. We have a lot of great camping gear that my husband loves. I suggested a few additions that he has enthusiastically embraced, such as a Dutch oven. This summer, we used it for every meal on our camping trip in order to really get the hang of it, and I made sure to include meals he likes. A few of the other things I’ve gotten are a couple of flashlights that can work on a hand-crank charge (almost free after a Menard’s rebate), a solar heated hanging “shower” for camping ($1 at a rummage sale), a lantern that works on a hand crank, and a charcoal starter. The addition I’m most excited about is our sand-point well. It turns out that this little town has very high sewer rates, thanks to a large new sewage treatment plant which was built recently, anticipating a housing boom that didn’t happen. The sewer charge is calculated off our water use. It’s nothing to get a $400 quarterly water/sewer bill, so my husband was willing to put in a backyard well so we could wash the vehicle, and water the garden without city water. It cost about $400 or $500 including the permits, equipment, and 1 afternoon rental of a jackhammer. Although it runs on electricity now, he was agreeable to spend $40 to get the hand pump attachment and store it for an emergency.
If your husband has any interests that line up with preparedness skills, then encourage him. My husband is a hunter, and fisherman, so I am very supportive. We usually discuss purchases together, and if he brings up an interest in purchasing any “hunting equipment”, fishing tackle, etc., I say, “Go for it”. When we have the money for a conceal carry class, I’ll support his interest. When he expressed an interest in my pickling his fish, I did it, even though I dislike pickled fish. He was willing to build me the square food garden boxes I asked for, so I will be willing to can all the tomatoes and salsa he wants. I don’t complain about all of the venison we eat. Although my husband isn’t willing for me to tear up any more of our small lawn for a larger garden, he IS willing to tear up some lawn in order to put in a raspberry patch. I’ll take what I can get.
I have been keeping an eye out for preparedness books at rummage sales, GoodWill, and library sales. So far, I’ve spent less than $20 to get: “The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs “ (includes dosages), Where There Is No Doctor edited by Dr. David Werner, Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook by James Talmage Stevens, “12 Month Harvest”, “Home Canning”, and a 20 volume set called “The Creative Workshop”. I also used my Christmas money from my mother-in-law to get “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It”, “The Urban Homestead”, “Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs”, and “The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do To Ready Your Home For a Disaster”. (I definitely didn’t tell my mother-in-law which books I bought with her gift. She would think I had cracked up.)
Other rummage sale finds include a vacuum-sealer, and a box of canning jars. I picked up a set of solar pathway lights for half-price last week, and have gotten several used food-grade buckets from the bakery dept. of our grocery store. That is how their frosting is delivered, so I got them for $.50 each just for asking, and just had to wash them out.
One piece of advice; for what it’s worth. Don’t go for everything you want all at once. Two years ago, I talked him into buying a six month supply of dehydrated food from Augason Farms. This was a very big purchase for us. We tucked it away. This winter, I approached my husband asking for a one -month supply of more accessible, “normal” food such as canned goods, and he was fine with that. I had been concerned that the one of our children with multiple serious food allergies would not have any protein that he could safely have from that 6 month supply we had purchased. Soy, beans/peas, and nuts were out of the question, so I needed canned meat/seafood. If there was a dire need, that child could eat protein from the new stuff for 6 months, and the other 5 of us could eat the other proteins. Because of our finances, it has taken 6 months to gradually buy enough additional food to feed 6 people for a month. I just finished this week, and it feels great! The next step is to get a rotation system in place for those foods. I keep the food stored out of sight, (out of mind) so that my husband isn’t constantly reminded of how much money we’ve spent. J Also, the kids aren’t as likely to blab about it if they don’t see it.
My plan now is to focus on learning skills. I got a pressure canner for Christmas, and have started teaching myself how to use it comfortably. I also plan to learn to make bread without my breadmaker. Perhaps I’ll try sourdough bread, or yogurt. Other goals are to organize car emergency kits, research and plan for updating first-aid kits, and to make a wish list of things to keep an eye out for at end-of-season sales, or rummage sales.
As an aside, don’t forget that you may already have more food available than you think in your cupboards, and freezer. I tend to forget to count the food that’s on our shelves, and in our freezer, but of course that would be the first food we would use up.
Finally, there may be some preparations that you would like to make, that your husband doesn’t agree to. In my case, it’s a woodstove. My thought is, “It would keep us from freezing.” His thought is, “No, because it would aggravate two kids’ asthma, and also aggravate a dry- eye condition I have.” What I have decided to do is forget about it. If it came down to it, my husband, with God’s help, would figure something out. God’s Word clearly tells me not to worry, so I choose to let it go. I’m at peace, even though there’s a big question mark in the area of heat.
Anyway, my point is, don’t get discouraged. No matter how much you can do, it’s more than the average citizen is doing, and your family will be better off for it. Just trust God. He knows your husband, and gave him to you. If you are honest and have the right attitude and motives, your husband will be able to trust you. He may not always agree with you, but it’s better to be partially prepared to struggle through TEOTWAWKI while happily married to your best friend, than to be fully prepared to survive TEOTWAWKI in a miserable, resentful marriage. Our children learn how to honor and respect their future spouses, by watching how we honor and respect their Dad. It is a legacy to pass on that will be a blessing to them all of their lives.