Saving Your Marriage for the End of the World – Part III, by Cottage Mom

This is the final portion of the three-part article, outlining ways to embark on a prepping journey with a prepping-adverse spouse. The list of suggestions continues below:

  1. Use Current Events as a Springboard for Purchases

    Many non-preppers don’t give much thought to the future, and they only see the need to prepare while they are in the eye of the storm. Use mini-emergencies or news stories to support purchases and advanced preparation.

    That latest tornado warning is a reason to get a weather radio. The cell tower outage is a reason to develop a family communication plan. The energy tax credit is a reason to convert your fireplace to an efficient wood-burning insert. The crime committed in your town is a reason to purchase a firearm. The Northeast Blackout of 2003 is a reason to do a host of preparatory activities.

    There are so many dire events from those in your neighborhood to those across the globe (refugees in Ukraine), it should be fairly easy to use these as a justification to obtain a few preparatory items.

  2. Avoid the Chief Oddball Prepping Activities for Now

    There are about three prepping categories that cause most mainstream spouses to freak out, and it behooves you to lie low and take other territory before you attempt them. It is not that you will never attempt these but rather postpone them, until you can get your spouse’s enthusiastic agreement.

    1. Storing Large Quantities of Food, Supplies, Recyclables

      • Buying a box of eight cans of corn at a big box store would not be considered crazy by most people. However, having to rotate a year’s supply of canned corn would.
      • Storing large quantities of water in drums or 2-liter bottles in case the world blows up would be considered extreme. However, putting in a swimming pool for the kids, or installing a rainwater collection barrel for the garden, which would subsequently provide an alternate supply of water, would not.
      • Stocking several 5-gallon buckets with quantities of grains would be considered extreme; however, learning to make your own bread and subsequently buying a large sack of grain to grind yourself for maximum health would be considered wholesome. Then, after bugs or mice get into your large sack of grain, that would be an opportune time to explain the need for a few plastic buckets to prevent that from happening again. What has been accomplished in this example is that your spouse had the opportunity to experientially perceive the rationale for why buckets of grain are not weird or crazy.
    2. Buying Multiple Firearms, Ammo, Military Gear, and Playing War Games.

      Most mainstream-groomed people have been conditioned to believe guns are bad and so are the people who own them. Most people, however, do not look sideways at playing recreational paintball, laser tag, or other target-oriented games, like archery. Instead of imposing a firearm on one’s reactionary spouse, begin introducing the idea of “guns” innocuously. Start by playing darts as family fun. Even darts will develop a certain level of aiming skill and coordination that can transfer to other self-defense skills.

      As alternatives:

      • Explore archery as a family.
      • Invest in a quality air gun for backyard target practice—which is even considered, by some, to be better firearms practice than using a firearm with live ammo at a range.
      • Store your recreation equipment—even the darts—responsibly in order to inspire trust/reduce fear of accidents for your spouse. Gradually get your spouse used to gun-looking objects and activities before approaching him/her about acquiring a real gun.
      • If you have boys (but even girls will love this), you have a perfect opportunity to play with them using military-style games in the yard. For a fun birthday party, set up an obstacle course and dress them in camo, complete with face paint. Keep it light and fun. For example, have them fill water bottles and clip them to a vest or belt; make a plank bridge crossing over a kiddie pool with toy alligators in it. Have them crawl through a cardboard box with plastic spiders and synthetic webbing. At the end of the course, they can eat real MRE’s or freeze-dried camping food out of a pouch. Not only will this “fun” lay the foundation for your children to develop self-defense skills, it will also gradually desensitize your spouse to his/her aversion to self-defense and survival training.
      • Gradually increase awareness about self-defense in your family by purchasing everyone a personal canister of pepper spray, and perhaps enrolling in a self-defense class or gun safety course.
      • Read real life stories to your spouse where someone averted violence through the prudent use of a firearm and see how your spouse reacts. Carefully plant seeds of truth about firearms to gradually undo the mainstream conditioning that “guns are evil.”
      • In purchasing your family’s first firearm, subtlety is key. Instead of trying to acquire an arsenal for the end of the world, begin with one firearm purchase for one specific purpose. If you are a man, you can generally begin hunting without raising any eyebrows; most wives will tolerate their husbands need for this sort of “man-time.” As a woman, most men will generally support a wife’s desire to protect herself and train with a personal firearm.
      • If you or your spouse has any anger management issues at all, you must resolve them, and then have a long track record of self-control prior to bringing a firearm into your lives.
    3. Scaring Your Spouse with Tales of Doom, Bugging Out, and Relocation.

      I made this mistake when I first learned of the survivalist movement. It was during the economic collapse of 2008, and our family business had been low on work. As I began sharing dire stories and the strategies to protect us (my method of dealing proactively with our situation), my spouse could not handle the depressing emotions these stories conjured. I discovered just how differently my spouse is wired from me, and if I wanted to be wise, I had to be sensitive to my spouse’s unique psyche and needs. What my spouse needed most were spiritual encouragement, optimism, and fun distractions. I decided to keep my prepping mentality to myself, but I did all the prepper things I could that would not upset my spouse in any way. We still had health insurance, so I got the whole family up to date on all their exams. I completed dental work I had been putting off. I began exercising, which really delighted my spouse. I kept a larger amount of cash in a drawer my spouse could draw from instead of going to the ATM, and this had a side benefit of saving time and reducing ATM fees.

      In addition to prepping in plain sight in the ways I could without causing negativity in my spouse, I also supported my spouse in the manner my spouse needed support. I didn’t embarrass my spouse. As our finances improved, I purchased various supplies with my spouse’s approval. Several brief power outages created an opportunity for discussion and resulted in getting a generator for our business that would also supply our home with emergency power. I set a goal to have a year’s worth of non-perishable consumables in our home, which meant we saved money, trips to the store, and we no longer ran out of soap, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, et cetera, and would come in handy should the SHTF.

  3. Fly Under the Radar for Some Prepping

    Don’t underestimate the power of little-by-little accumulations. There are some prepping activities you can do on the down-low, which your spouse doesn’t need to be an active partner or give specific approval. Do you desire to purchase extra batteries, fish antibiotics, sewing thread, or a roll of duct tape? Did you find a good deal at a garage sale for something you can quietly stow away? Does your spouse really need to participate in these purchases? While I don’t approve of keeping secrets from one’s spouse, in most households every purchase is not scrutinized, and there is leeway to accumulate small but valuable preps. If your spouse does scrutinize every dime, negotiate a monthly sum for your own discretionary spending; the money will be budgeted for, but you will have a measure of spending freedom as well.

  4. Find Like-Minded Friends

    Accept that your spouse may never come on board the way you would hope, and locate a few others who are supportive and can prep along with you. This can relieve some of the pressure and expectations you have for your spouse and give you a chance to share your excitement with someone else.

    Warning: Of course you must guard against crossing any romantic lines with another prepper.

  5. Objection

    I can hear the urgency in your thoughts: “But I don’t have any time to waste in getting ready! I need to protect my family now, whether or not it causes marital strife. I think I should prep now and get forgiveness later.” Again, review the list of all the ways to prepare that most likely will not cause marital strife. There is a lot that can be accomplished that will not jeopardize your marriage.

    Love is patient. It can take time for someone to undergo a sea change in their views on prepping, but it will happen in most cases if you proceed wisely. If you forgo the Queen Esther route, however, you may never be able to undo the damage you cause.

  6. My Own Experience

    These principles work! Here are some ways that my non-prepper spouse prepped without even knowing it:

    • We installed an above ground pool. This benefited our family in four ways– exercise and enhanced swimming skills; a large, alternate source of water; family fun and bonding time; and the potential to raise fish as a food source.
    • We drink spring water we get from a delivery service. In addition to our pool water, which can be used for hygiene or purified for drinking, our water delivery cycle allows us to have 25 gallons of readily-dispensable drinking water on hand at all times, plus it is regularly rotated.
    • Since my spouse loves technology, he installed security systems and purchased a hardened laptop for me that I stored my gathered survival information on.
    • My spouse takes pride in upgrading our household systems to be as energy efficient as possible. I assist by doing research and price shopping.
    • Since I encourage his areas of interest, he does not mind my accumulation of kitchen items– grain grinder, dehydrator, and more. I also put these items on my gift lists.
    • We used to be just-in-time shoppers, but then I began shopping at big box stores “in order to save time and keep us from running out of consumables,” which also conveniently serves my TEOTWAWKI ends as well. My spouse raised his eyebrows at first but now is used to seeing big box quantities of toilet paper, garbage bags, and the like. As long as I keep it organized, he doesn’t mind, and he appreciates not having to make emergency trips to the store.
    • Because our income is unpredictable, I made a case for storing a year’s worth of consumables as another version of a savings account. When income is coming in, I replenish and rotate what we use from our storage; when our income stalls, we draw from our storage without replenishing and radically reduce our monthly spending without impacting our comfort level. Since we have a supply on hand, I can wait until there is a sale to buy them.
    • I explained the concept of food insurance to my spouse. (It’s like life insurance, except that you actually get benefit from it when you eat it.) While he still rolls his eyes at me, he lets me do my thing. As long as it is in the budget, I can purchase any food supplies I want.
    • The biggest success, which occurred through providence, is that we actually bought some acreage to “play” on, but for me, it doubles as our survival retreat and bug out location, should the need arise.
    • Bees and chickens are in our future! I’m not sure what prompted it, but he actually suggested these to me!
  7. Stay in Faith

    One of the biggest marvels that occurred completely independent of my actions was that the Lord put a mentor in my spouse’s life that is also a prepper. It was one of the ways the Lord answered my unskilled prayers. Through the input of this friend, my spouse has been mentored in firearms and even became interested in gardening. The things that my spouse would deem crazy, if I were to suggest them, are thoughtfully weighed when they come from this friend.

    If you and I stay in faith, the Lord will answer our prayers, and even supply what we didn’t think to ask. No matter how we prepare, we will have to rely on God to survive should the SHTF. We might as well get into practice now in seeing God’s hand move.

  8. Keep Life Happy Right Now

    No matter how prepped up any of us are, we cannot be prepared or saved from every contingency. Do not be so apocalypse-sighted that you neglect joy in the now. Being as serious as a heart attack all day long violates the scriptures: “Rejoice in the Lord always,” and “a cheerful heart is a good medicine.” Again, if you are creative, you can and should dovetail prepping with having fun—baking in a solar oven or making homemade ice cream is fun but also practices valuable skills. Prepping should make your life better in the long run, not worse.

    Life is short as it is; so take time to have good times. Play, and be playful. Make your prep-adverse spouse’s life as sweet as you can make it. Take family vacations; enjoy dinner dates; buy toys for your kids; plant some flowers along with your vegetable garden; lie on a hammock and watch the clouds go by. Consider a day without laughter a day that has been wasted. It is these good times that make survival worthwhile in the first place.

As much as it depends upon you, make your spouse’s life beautiful.