I'm rather lucky as my family is (now) rather supportive and we all take prepping rather seriously. But it didn't start out like this. Despite the information available and the logic, my better half just didn't "get it" at first. She saw money being spent on supplies like portable solar chargers, that could have gone to other things, and I've got to admit. It caused a little tension.
But I stuck with it. And there's a few tips I'd like to share today that covers a strategy you can use to get your partner to warm up to the idea of being prepared for anything. It just takes a little time.
Here's how you can get started.
Step one. Explain it as a simple hobby
I get it. Being a survivalist is a lifestyle choice and is not even close to what I consider a hobby. But for many people this idea takes time to grasp. So, explain it as a hobby. Some people like fishing, others collect model trains, you simply like being self-sufficient. It's your weird quirk, and nothing more than that. But remember. It's very important to be upfront with your spouse about it. Once you start lying to them about the time, or more importantly, the money you're spending on things like your bullet bottle openers for this "hobby" it can cause some deep resentment which will make it almost impossible to get them on-board at a later stage. Don't lie. And be willing to have a talk with them about what kind of money is okay to spend on it. Then stick to it. You're building trust at this early stage.
Step two. Ease them into the whole prepper talk
The key here is to start slowly. No matter what you think, you can't jump straight into an end-of-the-world type "doomsday" scenario and not expect your spouse to think you've lost it. Normal people just don't think like that. You need to hold back, even if you're a full believer, because your spouse is going to take time to warm up to the idea. What worked for me was talking about situations that were a lot more normal to be prepared for. We discussed what our family would do if I lost my job and made a plan in case I wasn't able to find another in the next few months. It was simple, and my wife actually had a few good ideas that we have put in place. But what really worked here was the fact that it was a scenario she could imagine. It wasn't a nuclear war. Or a solar flare. We stayed very close to reality, with a situation she understood, to ease her into the whole prepper lifestyle.
Step three. Get them thinking of scenarios on their own
Now this is where it gets a little tricky. You've convinced your spouse prepping is your hobby, and they've humored you to an extent with your planning. But how do you get them to be truly on-board? What worked for me was slowly opening her eyes to the importance of prepping. And I used situations we faced to do it. Things in our everyday lives that would be improved by being prepared.
When my kid wanted to make cookies but we didn't have the ingredients, it involved getting ready, driving to the store (35 mins away) and buying what was needed from the supermarket. Almost a 2 hour round trip from our home. On the way back, my kid had fallen asleep and we didn't even make the cookies. We missed out on a fun family activity, but more importantly, we had a conversation around "having a little more food" in the pantry, so that we could bake cookies when my kids wanted to.
Slowly but surely, using things from our life my wife started warming up to the idea of being prepared. The kicker was four or five months later. We were watching the news and there was a report about a flood that had forced people to evacuate their homes. My wife asked me what we would do in that situation, and if we would be in the same kind of trouble these people were. I assured her we were definitely prepared for it, and we spent the better part of the next hour running through some of the preps I'd made, like what's in our bug out bags, and where to find flashlights in every room of our house. The key to getting to this stage was because I was gentle. Start the conversations and spark the ideas but be willing to sit back and let your partner realize the importance of prepping on their own.
Step four. Never go full prepper
Once you've got your partner on board, you still need to keep it under control. It takes time to change their lifestyle and the things they consider important, but it's inevitable that they'll eventually ask you about your thoughts on a full-on doomsday-type scenario. Don't blow it. I'd recommend answering rationally, acknowledge that the chances of something happening at this scale are small, and play it off lightheartedly. Even if your partner doesn't realize they're subconsciously testing you, and if you're too far out there they will start pulling back. So keep a handle on your answers, and focus on being logical and rational first. The rest will come with time.
Using these four steps I like to think I've successfully converted my family into a prepping family. She's much more held-back than I am, but that's a nice complement to me otherwise I'd be out building underground bunkers and stockpiling years of water and firewood in our basement. Finding someone who shares your passion is a blessing, and with the right approach you'll be able to get your partner to support your prepping.