July 23, 2014

When Spouses Don’t Agree on Preparedness

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the word of God tells us not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever.  We’re asked, “For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”   I think part of the concern is that the believer might have their light dimmed and be drawn closer to the world.

I think this verse is good advice and can be applied to other areas of life.  Since my name isn’t Dr. Phil, I’ll stick to preparedness.  In my thinking, this has two applications for us Prepper’s.  The first is, “what to do if your spouse doesn’t see the need for prepping?” and the other is, “what if they are a prepper, but think there should be a different level of preparedness?”

 

Your Spouse Doesn’t See a Need to Prepare

This is the more difficult of the two areas but it isn’t impossible to either win them over or at least move them to a point where they’re not an immovable obstacle.

In sales, when you have a customer who has objections to making a purchase, you’re taught to define their objectives and address them to alleviate their fear.  Just remember, you’re not trying to sell them something.  You’re asking the person you chose to marry why they are concerned about an issue you think is important.

The objection to prepping is often an emotional one, so tread carefully. Don’t dismiss fears or concerns, as you will just make them dig their heels in further.  No one likes to have their fear belittled, but when someone uses logic and concern to shine a light on the fear, one can sometimes realize that their fear is unfounded.

As I mentioned, the objection to prepping is often an emotional one.  The first objections given might not actually be the biggest fear or concern.  They might not have actually thought it out to know why they are against the idea.  Like pealing an onion, you might have to carefully remove layer after layer to get to the heart of the objection.

I wrote an article some time ago called “Some of the reasons people don’t prepare”.  It covers many of the objections I have seen since I started prepping.  It also lists some logical rebuttal’s you can use to help alleviate their concerns and fears.

If you and your spouse are both followers of Christ, I think it is a bit easier to make your argument.  If you truly believe that God is calling you to prepare, explain that to them.  You’ll still need to address their fears and concerns.  I covered some of the concerns Trudee and I had in Is Preparedness A Sin?.  I also explored all of the scripture related to preparedness in Scripture Related To Preparedness..  I think the eBook I wrote, which is given as a gift for subscribing for updates, can also be a great way to approach this subject.

I approach circumstances where Trudee and I might be on opposite sides of an issue a couple of different ways.  We pray together and ask for God’s wisdom, for clarity and guidance to know what to do.  I then privately ask God to make her do things my way.  I’m just kidding!  I ask that if she is aligned with His will to help me see things her way, and if I am aligned with His will for her to see things my way.  I think a lot of times, if we submit a decision to Him, putting “our way” aside, He will make His will known.  We might not always like the answer though.

When you do this, you have to be willing to let go of what you think is right.  Don’t pray it while in the back of your mind thinking that God knows you’re right and He’ll side with you.  That might be the case, but the Almighty God of the universe is not your tough guy, there to bend people to your will.  The idea is to submit to God and to honor your spouse while praying for Godly wisdom.

I think you also need to define what it is you want to do.  Telling someone that you want to prepare for some undefined event may be hard for someone new to the concept of preparedness to wrap their mind around.  If you say that you would like to have a way to provide for your family’s five basic human needs, and explain what they are, that is something they can more easily understand.

 

Your Spouse is a Prepper, But Not on the Same Page

Whether your spouse thinks you should be prepping more or less, you should first thank God that they see the need at all.  From there you can approach this issue the same way outlined above; discover why they think the way they do, and explain why you think the way you do.  Pray about it as mentioned above and ask for guidance.

There are a couple of different ways you can evaluate your current level of preparedness, to see where your holes are.  Start off with Proverbs 27:12:

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

Start by defining what you both believe the dangers are.  You might be surprised to hear of one that you didn’t realize was a concern.  For instance, if the stuff hits the fan and you work close to home but your spouse works further away, you might have their trip home as a concern but a low priority.  That’s not to say you don’t care, but you might think they’ll be able to get home without much difficulty.  They make that drive every day and can see what the obstacles are or might be.  This might be a much higher concern for them.  I know that when I worked at the office, one of my biggest concerns was getting home if something big happened.

It might be a good idea to agree to have this conversation in a week, which would give you both enough time to build your case.  I would suggest you find rational examples of why something is a concern for you.  If I were to go to Trudee and say I want to buy a generator because there could be a solar flare and we will need to supply our own power, I haven’t built my best case.  Instead, if I tell her that we know of people who have lost power every winter, that we also have the potential for some other less likely but still possible things, and give examples of hackers from other countries hacking the electric grid, the blackouts on the east coast and even the less likely EMP or solar flare, I’ve made a much stronger case.

Now you can create a list of the things you both think are the biggest dangers and figure out how to “take refuge” so to speak.

What do you do if one see’s something as danger that the other does not?  For example, if Trudee has a concern that a fire breaking out is a large concern and I don’t.  I can logically see that it is a risk, but I might think our actual risk is very low.  For the sake of honoring my wife, I think I should make a concession and do what is reasonable to take refuge for her perceived danger.  I say “reasonable” because spending some cash on nice fire alarms and some fire extinguishers, as well as spending some time on making evacuation routes and plans is reasonable.  Building a concrete house and only cooking outside are not.

Once you have listed the dangers, look at them and decide how to meet your families five basic needs.  Much of this will be overlap, with some exceptions.  Food storage will meet the need for food for any of the dangers, but we might have to get a fire extinguisher to meet the one specific need.

Another sticking point might be the capacity to which you prepare.  Let’s say I think we should have six months of food stored and Trudee thinks three months is sufficient.  Maybe we could compromise and meet at 4.5 months’ worth.

The amount of supplies needed to meet your food and water needs can be measured by how long you want them to last.  The rule of thumb is to have one gallon of water per person for each day.  You might have easy access to water and decide to purchase a means to prepare it, storing less.  For food, you eat at least three meals a day.  For security, shelter and energy, the level of preparedness is harder to judge and can be open to interpretation.

If one of you is a planner and wants to have more plans on what to do if certain things happen, it might be reasonable for the person who isn’t as much of a planner to give in.  Now, if one wants to spend a large sum of money, then that is something you should agree on.

Another way to see where actual holes are in your preparations and plans is to run drills.  Turn the power off over a weekend or really test it and go longer.  You may find that you really don’t need as much of something as you thought, or you could see you need more.

I have gotten a few emails from people who have thanked me for giving them a rational Godly based way to explain preparedness, getting their spouse “on board” with it.  I don’t take credit for it.  I believe I am just doing what God asked me to do.

I also know that there are certain things that no matter how many different ways you explain it, no matter how well thought out, how logical or rational you are, there are just certain things your spouse won’t “hear” you on.  Sometimes it just takes someone on the outside.  Never make them feel like you’re pushing it down their throat.

 

What to do if They Won’t Budge?

If you can’t agree and they either fail to see the reason to prepare, or to be as prepared as you, I won’t tell you what you should do, other than pray for guidance.  If Trudee wouldn’t have been on board, I would have told her that I loved her and that her opinion did matter to me, but that I believed the Lord wanted me to begin to prepare and that I was going to.  I would’ve assured her that I wasn’t going to go overboard, but I would be spending a little money here and there.  I wouldn’t have rubbed it in, but I would have done as I felt led by the Lord.

 

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Comments

  1. Chris Ray; I am a regular reader of your articles yet my finances do not allow me to prepare in a way to protect my family of six. Is there a simple cut to the chase guideline which suggests the types and amount of supplies that are needed for my family, and for how long. How to cook without gas, keep warm without heat, where do I store these items if big brother evicts me from my home. Who can store six months of water, and what is the danger of having so much stuff fall into the hands of others. Soooooo many possibilities. God Bless you, Joe

    • Chris Ray says:

      Hi Joseph,

      First, thank you for reading, I appreciate it. Second, to answer your questions, I wish there was a one size fits all plan, but there isn’t. There are however some guidelines that can be used to plan. For food I suggest you start a food log and anything your family eats that has a shelf life of six months or longer, add it to the list. Concentrate on buying those foods as you already eat them, so you know they won’t go to waste. As for water, I recommend having enough for a few days, but any more than that and it makes more sense to find a source of water and get a means to purify it.

      I like propane for a backup energy source, you can get a propane camping grill for pretty cheap and a propane heater too. propane lasts forever, so no worry about it going bad. the heater is a bit more expensive, but the one I own was just over $100.

      I’m not sure what the concern is about big brother evicting you, what do you mean by it?

      send me an email if you like chris (at) preparedchristian.net

  2. Chris, Wonderful article with some really good advice

  3. Excellent article however my trouble reaching my spouse is more severe. We also are on different wavelengths spiritually so biblical or religious arguments would not help in reaching her. She’s very anxious by nature and even if she could see a need she couldn’t focus on the reasons without losing it. Any suggestions?

    • Chris Ray says:

      I wish I had something more to say, but the only thing I can think to say are to keep preparing and keep praying. Pray for wisdom and for your wife to have peace and to come to know the Lord. I imagine these are things you’re doing already, but I’ll join you in your efforts.

  4. I have an interesting way to look at life in general. The reason I say this is because some times it’s not a matter of what..it is how. You say we need to prepare…to prep…to be ready. That didn’t work on my husband…not at all. So….I changed it! I told him I was going to ‘stock up’ a few things in case we got tied up and couldn’t get to the store, since my disability knocks me down hard on weird days…etc. So I stocked up about a weeks worth of groceries and supplies such as tp, laundry, etc.

    Well sure enough…power went out. Stores emptied faster than you could get there. Had to go 2 1/2 hours north for gas for the baby generator we have that runs practically nothing.

    When we got thru the crisis…my ‘extras’ were gone, we were down to bare necessities (so he thought) and things were a wee bit dicey in the ummm fragrance department since showers were not an option with an elec. water heater.

    The second part when he decided that 2 weeks was enough…that solved itself when the second elec outage lasted almost 20 days…a wee bit more than 2 weeks. Now he sees that we need to prepare.

    Oh we still call it stocking up…because we are not preppers that have 2-4-6 months of things. He feels like being in charge of what ‘extra’ we are going to get is working for him. Since I do the budget, I let him know how much money we have ‘extra’ (its never much on disability) and he decides what we are going to get.

    If you have someone that doesn’t see the need…ask about doing a 1 week ‘practice’. Stock up for a week. Then no store..absolutely..nothing. Live in the cupboard…yes 3 cans of veggies is a vegetarian meal…deal with it. You will still have your fridge, stove, microwave…tv…all of it. Just NO store. Ran out? oh well. Didnt buy enough? Pull up those tighty whities. Said you weren’t gonna do it? Pull up those big girl panties and grow up.

    Go to the stores ON the first of the month…then the night of the first of the month…check out the empty shelves…if that doesn’t convince them…fine. Make a decision on what you need to do and stock up somewhere safe.

    The hard part will be the decision when the bottle falls out and this same person feels that they are entitled to what you stocked up on.

    Does this sound harsh…I pray it doesn’t. Does this sound hard? I pray it does. Because everyone of us needs a hard lesson…administered gently with love. We need to be prepared…stocking up…because the bottom will fall out…all too soon.

    • Chris Ray says:

      Changing how you phrase things can make all the difference, this is a lesson I am still learning. It sounds to me like you are stocking up to meet your needs based on the situations and circumstances life has thrown at you. Very practical and prudent in my opinion.

  5. Chris …
    I want to thank you for addressing this sensitive issue for some families.
    I myself have shared your article with my husband, and the results have been promising.
    Already we have taken the opportunity to discuss ‘some’ of what we each feel is important. He assures me that he is supportive of the actions I have taken towards preparedness and trusts in my ability to think it through and prepare. It is important to me that I have his support as there are areas that I do not feel confident in; such as how much fuel is needed to run the generator vs how many items and hours will be required of it. What would I do if I was alone while he is out of town for a month and a huge earthquake causes major damage. Do I have what is needed to access the food and supplies if there is structural damage to the home? Do I have the liberty to use a crash ax to the door or walls ;-). Etc.
    I really like your idea of doing a ‘Trial run/drill’ on our water needs, as well as turning off/taping over the electrical outlets. (I think leaving the refrigerator plugged in during this time however and be thinking about how many hours it would need to run on the generator to stay cool would be adequate). That in turn would take us down the thought trail of fuel. Then where do we get the fuel? That leads to: keeping the gas tanks in the vehicles half full all the time. Lawn mower can full. What about propane tanks – how many do we have, and are they full.
    Another thought I had: if I use from my stored food supply, am I able to get it stocked back up again in a timely manner. So I have created a check list of what I have stored away, and imagined making several different meals with these cans of supplies. This has helped me to process supply and demand.
    Oh my, the lists goes on. And on. And on.
    It is important to think through as many different scenarios as possible so that we can fill as many ‘holes in the plan’ as we can. Having had a career as a flight attendant, I know that the more we practiced in our minds for an emergency the better prepared we were/are when/if the real thing happens.
    I assure myself that even if I am not as “prepared” as I would like to be… I have taken some steps forward and that is better than Not.
    Thanks again Chris for your time and energy you put forth for others – helping us to process and plan is key. God Bless you……

    • Chris Ray says:

      It’s my pleasure, I’m glad it was of some help. I think you’re doing a great job by going through different scenarios, you are right in that they can help you find gaps. I think mindset is the most important prep, and you have it and are expanding it. We might not ever be as prepared as we would like, but with the right mindset we can face many different circumstances and prevail.

  6. I was just talking to a couple yesterday, who agreed on prepping food, but were in disagreement on weapons.

  7. Sorry to be Miss Tardy to the Party on this but the way I approached this issue was to point out that prices are rising and most likely will never be cheaper than they are now. My husband read “The Alpha Strategy,” which also helped.

    • Chris Ray says:

      “Miss Tardy to the Party” ha ha, that is a new one to me. you make a good point, prices on many staples went up over 10% last year.

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