Prepping Your Spouse for Prepping

Purely speaking from a prepping perspective (Holy alliteration Batman!), I think most of the resistance we have from our spouses has its root in money. Think about it for a minute. If prepping involved a lot of meditation; do you think our spouses would care one bit about that?
Prepping your spouse for prepping

Last Updated on November 19, 2020

How many of you have ever tried to convince your spouse to do something that was outside of their comfort zone? Did you have a lot of success? When we have these partners in our lives, we try to share most if not all of our lifestyle with our significant other. This accomplishes two goals.

First, we get to do something we are interested in with the person we most want to be around in the world. The second reason is that if our spouse is doing it, we can get away with a lot more, right?

I have seen it hundreds of times with couples that I know. They will take up a new hobby like diving, golf, riding bikes, motorcycles or bowling leagues and instantly this is both a bonding experience and an opportunity to buy all of the “stuff” that their particular activity requires.

When you are both involved in the activity, the resistance your spouse might normally voice when you wanted to drop a few hundred dollars for the latest piece of golf gear is lessened. “Honey, I think we both need to get these new Callaway drivers for Christmas. It will make our game so much better”. Honestly, how many of you have tried something very similar to that?

Where does prepping conflict start?

Purely speaking from a prepping perspective (Holy alliteration Batman!), I think most of the resistance we have from our spouses has its root in money. Think about it for a minute. If prepping involved a lot of meditation; do you think our spouses would care one bit about that?

I think the main conflict starts in marriages because one spouse feels a compelling need to prepare and the other doesn’t. There isn’t a problem until the pro-prepping spouse wants to start spending money on things the anti-prepping spouse does not feel is necessary.

It would probably be the same thing if out of the blue you tried spending money like Tiger Woods on your new hobby. If your spouse thought golf was stupid and a waste of time, they would probably complain about that $400 new driver.

To avoid a lot of the problems we frequently hear about in prepper circles, it is a wise move to get your spouse on board from the very start. Will this lower their resistance to some prepping supplies that you feel are necessary? Maybe, but the main reason is that you two can be a team.

When you are both on the same page with preparing for your family, even if you don’t spend one dollar, you will both be better off and more able to survive any situation.

Any time you are spending convincing your spouse they are wrong is a waste of time.
Any time you are spending convincing your spouse they are wrong is a waste of time.

What are some problems getting your spouse on board?

I think for a lot of people we go about discussing the subject of prepping with our spouses the wrong way. I think essentially we set ourselves up for failure when a different tactic could make the conversations go so much better.

If your spouse doesn’t know anything more about prepping than what they have heard on the news, it will be your job to teach, convince and sell them in some way on the reasons why prepping makes perfect sense.

Learn from my mistakes

I did not do things the right way and ended up spending a couple of years digging myself out of a hole I dug by overreacting. My story, very briefly is that I started learning about prepping and survival many months before my wife. This was a long time before Doomsday Preppers was on TV so prepping was a relatively unknown word to most of society.

I would research and devour every source of information I could get my hands on. I read prepping blogs daily, post-apocalyptic fiction, and YouTube videos galore. After doing this for almost a year I had worked myself into a stressed-out state thinking about all of the threats we faced and how unprepared my family was to deal with any of them.

One night right as we were getting into bed I unloaded all of the things I was concerned about and my plans for all of the things I wanted to do (things I wanted to buy) to ensure my family’s survival and my rationale for believing all of these things.

In case you were wondering, it is never a good idea to tell your wife a bunch of conspiracy theories while she is reading in bed and offer them as your reasoning for purchasing a bunch of guns, food and ammo.

I think we get caught up in the need to prepare for unforeseen events for a lot of legitimate reasons, but we don’t take our spouses along for the ride until it is too late. This can catch them unaware and leave them trying to convince you about how wrong you are instead of hearing the logic you are trying to get across.

How to talk to your spouse about prepping

Most everyone has heard of prepping now thanks to a lot of media on the subject. Some of it has been good and some bad, but I honestly believe that preppers are not thought of as loonies as much anymore. It may be that you and your spouse have already had some conversations around the main subjects of prepping like storing food and water or having some means of self-defense. If you are already walking down that road together, that is great.

For those who either have a spouse that is completely opposed to anything that looks like prepping, or else they humor you in some capacity or worse don’t know you are prepping because you are keeping it a secret from them; these tips are what I would recommend to get them on your team.

When your spouse is on-board with your prepping plans, you two will be unstoppable.
When your spouse is on-board with your prepping plans, you two will be unstoppable.

What to do

  • Focus on safety – Almost everyone can see the logic behind safety and this can extend in almost every effort that we focus on as preppers. Storing extra food will prevent you from going hungry should you not be able to get out to the stores. Anyone who has heard of people being trapped in their homes for any number of reasons should accept this. Additionally, stocking up on a week or two worth of groceries isn’t going to make too many people upset. I wouldn’t go out and buy a years’ worth of MRE’s at this point though.
  • Illustrate lessons from real-life events in the news – There have been so many stories in the news that validate the need to prepare that you can easily point to in order to convince someone of the need to prepare. There were more than a couple spills last year that contaminated entire cities water supplies. You don’t have to say anything about prepping to stock up extra water, just point to those news stories and say you are saving water in case you can’t drink or shower with tap water like those people in Charleston.
  • Take it slow – You don’t have to present your grand plan for being prepared to your spouse on day one like I did. Start with something simple like storing some extra food or water. Do you live in areas prone to hurricanes? It should be simple to take steps that a lot of us who live far from the coast would have a much harder time selling. Instead of buying the entire prepper arsenal and thousands of rounds of ammo, you could start with a good home defense weapon. First, I would convince your spouse of the need to have something like this (of course, if you believe it is necessary) for their safety. You just want something for home protection and you can point to home break-in statistics to bolster your argument. There will be time for all of the other weapons you could need in a full on collapse if you so choose, but baby steps.

What not to do

  • Do not list ANY conspiracy theory as your motivation – This is almost always a bad idea unless your spouse is into conspiracy theories. Prepping doesn’t need a conspiracy to make it valid. If you want to convince someone why prepping is important, I would not talk about government tyranny, threats of wars, the confiscation of guns or anything like that. At least not in the beginning.
  • Do not open with buried cache ideas– Hiding gear and supplies underground is a new kind of odd for people who can’t see the justification for doing things like that. Save those ideas until a later time when your spouse might see the benefit, or could bring this subject up themselves. I am still a little surprised when my spouse brings up ideas I have been thinking about on her own. Along the same lines, don’t throw out all of the wonderful prepper acronyms and talk about SHTF and TEOTWAWKI while admonishing your children about the importance of OPSEC.
  • Do not argue about how wrong they are – My first mistake with my wife when I tried to convince her about prepping was to argue with her and tell her that she didn’t know what she was talking about. That was a bad move because now it didn’t have anything to do with prepping, it was about her defending herself from my accusations. Prepping might stir big emotions in your mind because of your fears, but they should not get in the way of you communicating to your spouse about what you think is necessary. Removing the more incendiary pieces of prepping is a good way to keep the conversation about safety. You want to keep the family safe. Food, Water, Shelter and Security can easily fit into any home. The world is crazy enough; you don’t need to tell your spouse they are wrong about the zombie threat.

Prepping is better when your entire family is on board. Prepping should be concerned first and foremost with your family’s safety. How do you plan on keeping them alive if some situation affects them? That is the conversation. I think if you can keep them thinking about safety, ignore the conspiracy (until later) and take slow steps towards goals that might be years down the line, you should have more success. I know I did.

  1. The wonderful think about Wyoming is that living here convinced my wife that my preps were not a bad idea. Having food, water, spare 5 gallon cans of fuel, etc are a must. The firearms and ammo I try to space out so I do not to appear to be a domestic terrorist stocking up for Jihad. Although this year my plan to space firearms out was ruined by my old man in a good way. He gave me his Remington Versa and his M9 a week after I picked up my MK25. Having 500 bucks in cash in the house also helps if the banks go down etc.
    It is easier to take small steps over time and increase my supplies then trying to do it all at once and let other aspects of family life suffer. Telling my wife the son can’t participate in the Swim club or the daughter can’t go to dance lessons, because our free money is tied up in a prepping project is a sure way to quash my plans. Many times I have to adjust what I would like to purchase for other things that are not needed but nice. I sold my eotech and planned to put that money on my rifle and ammo, wife said kids needed new clothes so I gave her 200 bucks out of my free money to cover the trip. So instead of paying said rifle off now, I will wait until the middle of next month, my ammo buy was cut in half but 140 rounds is better than none. Not being rigid in your timetable and list is a must for most people. A plan is a great guideline just like a budget but be prepared to adjust on the fly as well.

    1. You do have an advantage in some areas I think like you mention LWJ. The tough job is convincing people in milder climates away from any respectable chance of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or wildfires.

      1. The scariest thing that I worry about are massive cyber attacks that have the potential to shut the grid down for weeks or months. At least with the weather you get a heads up, with this threat you won’t have much at all if any.

    2. Never understand the prepping in Wyoming thing – Yellowstone has been on red alert for the last 18 months – and when that blows Wyoming is gone.

  2. It took a few years to get my wife on the band wagon. But she is here and we are moving along quite well. One can never be “fully prepared” as shit happens.
    Do what you can and in short order you will learn other ways of preparing as well.

    Nothing quite like being prepared for 7 years and only having 2 years of underwear . . .

  3. Household6 looked at me skeptically at first, indulging yet another ‘dumb project.’ At some point, one of her best friends asked her a ‘what would you do?’ question that turned my newest dalliance in wasting money into something she tacitly supported. She’s gotten pretty big into country cooking, has read up on long-term food storage, canning and gardening.

    What I haven’t been able to do is get her truly on the wagon, actively helping to improve preps. A spring garden, an indoor herb planter, and food storage are general interests I hope to get her involved in this spring.

    1. What are the odds of getting a dehydrator? Making different kinds of jerky is pretty fun, and easier to store long term. Alas gardening is just a hobby for a few months out of the year here.

    2. Household6…..that’s hilarious. I remember once at the rifle range in the fleet one of the guys up in the tower announced on the loudspeaker: “Black 6, Black 6 (Our company commander, Captain), report to the tower. Your 6 is on the phone”. The whole range erupted in laughter. Not sure if anything happened to the guy.

  4. Guys, having been married for 28 years, god bless her soul for moving on (late wife), I can honestly say one thing for certain, If the wife and/or family is not behind you, than it isn’t going to happen.

  5. After re-reading this, I have to qualify my comment that this is not intended to be a complaint about my wife. I love her to death and am not one who airs dirty laundry. I am spitballing for advice as well as giving others a heads up of some of the difficulties that are out there. That said, having a spouse on board is an absolute must if you care to stay married. I’m fighting that now. I took Pat’s advice and brought up the whole issue as a “I want to keep the kids safe”, which tugged her heart strings, but she’s a smart cookie and can read between the lines.

    She saw wisdom behind storing water after our water bill fiasco this past summer, but doesn’t see the need for the three 55 gallon drums I’ve stored horizontally to the ceiling to save space, linked in series, and the 4″x6″ rack I built to house them. (I want another one in the unusable space I created next to this one which fortuitously happens to be just the right size for a second rack).

    She sees wisdom in having some extra food (particularly food we regularly eat) but doesn’t think we need more than one bag of rice, and certainly no flour because she doesn’t do a lot of traditional home cooking from scratch (bread, pies, etc). She used to be the head chef at our hospital, but years of doing that has turned her off completely from food service. She purchased some canned goods to replace what we had been using and was frustrated when I asked her to rotate them. Though her experience tells her she needs to do this, her frustration comes from our imperfect set-up in the pantry: it really is a pain in the ass to rotate what we have. Because it’s not easy, she is not inclined to do it and the comments come out.

    She’s against canning, dehydrating, and otherwise preserving food because “that’s what the Mormons do” (they do take food storage to an extreme, and it’s religiously motivated which we both have strong opinions on) and she doesn’t want to be like them. It doesn’t matter that food storage itself is wise in spite of who does it, it just matters that she believes in the stigma she has associated with it. Additionally, she’s against things which she believes confine her and turn her into “June Cleaver”. She doesn’t want to be in the house doing traditional wife things because she views it as a form of enslavement.

    And as far as conspiracy theories/other rationales go, she doesn’t believe that the grid can/will go down. More correctly, I think she doesn’t want to believe it. I’ve played the earthquake game with her (we’re overdue), I’ve mentioned the freeway being destroyed like it was this past summer in Nevada because of torrential rains washing it out, I’ve mentioned the possibility of drought because we live in the desert and she acknowledges in her head that those are real, but not in her heart. Just when I think she’s starting to come around a bit, BAM, she retreats. Not sure how to make a horse drink, you know?

    But, every cloud has a silver lining. I’ve been talking up a storm about how we need trees on our property – fruit trees, nut trees, shade trees, etc. Now that spring has sprung here in Utah she saw some beautiful flowering plum trees (non-fruit bearing) and said she wanted some (makes the brown and gray xeroscaping that’s so popular a little less like death). We promptly went to the store yesterday and bought one (budgeting!). Last night we spent time as a family preparing the site, removing rocks, and started to dig up this old palm shrub that’s currently in the way. It was a ton of fun.

    And who cares that its a tree that’s “just” for looks? My wife who is against gardening or taking part in this kind of stuff initiated the idea. I’m jumping on that and going full steam ahead. I thought a monkey wrench got thrown in the gears though when my seven year old son said, “Mom, don’t get a tree. Dad’s trying to trap you”. We both looked at each other with a smirk thinking, “what is his little mind trying to say?” He clarified that by her acquiescing to get a tree, I was going to turn it into more trees, and gardens, and then canning fruit, etc. We both laughed – what a smart little boy to know her concerns and my ulterior motives! Children are a blessing.

    So, for what it’s worth, marry wisely if you’re single (though I didn’t know I wanted to be a prepper and a homesteader until I was 31 and married for 7 years with 2 kids, a mortgage, an entrenched city life and all that jazz). If you’re already married, best of luck trying to convince an unwilling spouse. Compromise is the name of the game, but I think there’s something to be said for quiet, slow acquisition of materials, done in an honest and open, financially smart way that doesn’t endanger your family’s finances. Include your spouse in your thoughts and decisions, but don’t necessarily ask permission (except for large purchases). Hopefully your relationship is sound where you can buy some things with your share of the disposable income and he/she doesn’t have a comeapart. Inviting him/her to come along and make a date out of it, and using your preps in non-prepper ways (camping, bbq, hunting/shooting, etc), can also work towards getting the spouse on-board. Eventually though, they will have to make the transition on their own. Until then, keep on marching slow and steady to the beat of your own drum.

  6. Mike, you might want to check your math on the underwear. The way we always figured it in the Army, each pair of underwear had four applications. Front, back, inside out front, inside out back.

    My math says you have 8 years of underwear.

    You are welcome! 🙂

  7. I’m sure we all have in the back of our minds that “video” of us 10 seconds after the SHTF event, taking command and barking orders to load the Bobs into the Bov, while the wife looks up at us with that look that says yes you were right and you are my hero….ok maybe there’s more chance of EMP attack than that last part happening but my point (yes I’m getting there) is at no stage do we imagine that we will not be there to take charge and implement everything we have prepped for.

    But what if we can’t be there for our family. Isn’t there a very real possibility that the SHTF event incapacitates us or even kills us ? Maybe due to road blocks or contracting something contagious we are unable to return home – maybe forever.

    What’s the point of having Life Straws if your partner a) doesn’t know you have them and b) doesn’t know what they’re for or how to use them ? The 7th AR15 you just bought – useless if your not there and your partner can’t use it. (Never mind perhaps your wife’s NEXT husband can make use of them..).

    Failure to prep our partner is prepping to fail (sorry about that one). It’s really too important to gamble that you will be there. I think it’s worth a couple of lonely nights on the couch to at least try to get your partner on board.

    Sure, easier said than done. When I brought up storing 6 months food supply I got the eye roll (the one where I’m sure she’s wondering whether her last boyfriend is still single and maybe it’s time to give him a call again…). But as Pat points out, sometimes it’s in the sell. “If we load up on things that are on special at the moment we will save money”.. For me that was a winner. Emphasising the family’s safety – much better than starting off with your personal theory on the impending zombie apocalypse.

    It’s not easy but to me it’s too critical not to at least attempt to bring your parter along.

    1. One of the important things one can do is let members of your group know what you have and where it is at. My brother knows what I have, and my sibling from another mother knows as well. Same thing with the parents. It is the same with my groups preps. If something were to happen to me they have my blessing to use my stuff because they have just inherited my family.

    2. Great points Reaper! The video is interesting, but my fantasy would be that I wouldn’t have to bark any orders. Everyone would be rolling along like a well-oiled Seal Team. Yes, I know that is never going to happen, but you are right in your family is so much stronger if you are all on the same page. I am getting there, but it was a journey.

    3. I sort if agree with ya all, letting everybody know where and what you have in the “stores” is not such a bad idea, especially when they all don’t prep (or run out of preps because of lack of caring), and now were into the 3rd-4th-10th month of SHTF, and their kids are starving and all of their friends are starving with absolutely no way of surviving.
      Does anyone here think they wont cut you off at the pass to acquire your “stores”? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for “helping” and doing what I can for friends and family, but what about those friends of friends of family that happened to hear about some dude over there that has 2 years of food stored up?
      Just saying, OPSEC is really not that bad of a deal.

      1. OPSEC yes, but blood is thicker than water. I don’t see my brother selling his family out short either. I plan on having people at the doorstep regardless. Just depending on who you are depends on what kind of treatment you receive. You have to willing to do for others, if you expect the same treatment in return. You however can be picky about who you are willing to do this for.

  8. Matt,

    Great comments and your experience is very similar to mine, although about close to 8 years ago. It does take time, patience and a lot of thought and attention into how you present things; what is important and what isn’t.

    I, like you made purchases using my “allowance” that were for prepping and slowly, very slowly over time my wife has changed her mind almost completely. She isn’t getting fitted for camo’s or a bulletproof vest, but she doesn’t give me any grief anymore for purchases or plans. Maybe it is because I have taken care of a lot of the initial needs on my own. We have a garden and my wife has always liked gardening, flowers. It is the work of vegetables that has taken a little more work, but she is completely different now than she was when I first started talking about prepping. She understands the value and wisdom of almost everything I do. I am sure your wife will change and evolve with you over time. Sounds like your heart is in the right place so I am confident it will all work out in the end.


  9. Yes, its’ good to have your spouse on the same page.
    But what more important is to avoid all other preppers. Most preppers are preppers because they are cowards. They have fear about every possible thing that could happen , and in the end, these people are the most dangerous after a SHTF.
    If you take a good look at about 60 percent of preppers, you see a lot of mental illness, sexual perverts, and every kind of social outcast. . They are fearful BECA– USE they are outcasts, they prep BECA– USE they can’t rely on anyone in regular life.
    its quite different than say Christian family preppers who want to protect their kids from harm.
    Sane family preppers should not be joining prepper groups outside of family members. and be cutting lose family members you can not trust.
    People’s true characters (mostly worse character) will come to the surface after the SHTF
    Avoid 911 truthers, anti war activists, anyone that calls themselves “anarchist”., sexual perverts of all kind,, even abortionists, most Democrats , half the Republicans, illegal aliens, people outside your religious faith, especially atheists and New agers.

    1. I see where you’re coming from R&B, but that’s a pretty wide brush. There are definitely some oddballs out there, but aren’t there in any activity that’s not quite mainstream? I do medieval combat and historical re-enactment as a hobby. There are those who do it as a hobby and there are those who try their hardest to live it and speak with “thees” and “thous” to the point where their real life job is nothing but a way to fuel their addiction of escapism. I’m interested to hear where you’re getting the “60%” benchmark you’ve established.

      I myself am somewhat of an anti war activist in that I have been to war, killed people, and realized it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and don’t want others to have to do it unless it really is the last resort and not to line the pocket books of old rich white men. Should I be excluded from banding together with preppers? And I’m also somewhat of an anarchist in that I believe we’re better off with fewer laws and smaller government, letting people have much more control over their dealings with others. Ever read anything about Lysander Spooner ( )? I think he’s got a lot of great things to say and yet he’s considered a philosopher in the anarchist-libertarian range of the spectrum.

      I also know some atheists and new agers from my time in the military and I’ll tell you, I’d give my life for them – consider them closer than blood as family. They’d do the same for me. After all these years we keep in touch and travel long distances to visit with our families. I’d rather have them by my side in a SHTF scenario because they’ve proven their worth. Their spiritual beliefs are different from mine, but their common sense attitude about how the world works and what it takes to live and be a good neighbor do not.

      I do understand the benefit of like people grouping with like people because the odds of problems arising due to massive conflicts of world view are reduced, but you’ll still have problems. People are people. Could our country be better off if we didn’t force so much diversity inclusiveness on unwilling people? Perhaps, but then we’d just have pockets of really introverted and bigoted people who would probably defend their way of life from any intrusion into their bubble very violently. The south did this after Reconstruction with lynch mobs, the Mormons did this with the Mountain Meadow Massacre, the white folks in New England did this to Irish Catholics, many of us do it now with hispanics and other minorities – all because the “offenders” are different.

      I would like to hear you flesh out your ideas more completely though so you don’t come across as being one of those fearful oddballs you describe.

    2. Mannnnn, this fly-by has just taken all the fun out of beinga prepper 🙁 , now I can be a coward, a pervert, an atheist, not only that I can’trely on anyone, an outcast, and I fear people BECA– USE I’m an outcast and very dangerous.

      HAHAHAHAHA ya gata just love this guy to death. LOL OHHH and let’s not forget the social outcast and the mental illness HAHAHA Ya know in some crowds I take these as a compliment 🙂

      Guess I’ll really piss him off if I’m a Buddhist? HAHAHA

      Sorry to say usmarinetanker, but you probably just wasted a LOT of typing on this one.

      Ya know, I bet this guy is working for the NSA and trying to run us off the Blog? What ya think? Or maybe the Christian Family Prepper movement where everyone else will go to hell, or is that the ISIS Muslim movement???
      Wellllll I could be right ya know?

      OMG Pat, this is the best one you got lately —- HAHAHAHA
      good fishing.

      1. Well, you’re probably right, but I figure I’d give him a shot to explain himself. A lot of people pop off half-cocked on the internet but mean things that sometimes are significantly more than how they come across.

        I hadn’t given the NSA mole angle a thought, but who knows? Counterintel/psyops is a real thing.

  10. The solution to getting your spousal unit on board- Have them read “One Second After”. Ask questions afterwards. After having done this, I now have a “partner in crime” that is helping with choosing what needs to be picked up, stored and itemized. Sudden she now interested in going to the range and learning the finer details of the shooting sports.

    1. That is exactly what I tried Herman. It was the first and only “apocalyptic” book I ever asked her to read. She did and wasn’t as on-board immediately as your partner is, but it did work. It humanized the ideas and concepts and put them in a way she could imagine better.

      1. The kicker and the “deal maker” in this book was the daughter who had diabetes and died at the end because her supply of insulin she needed, had ran out.

        After she read the book, we talked about it. She made mental notes as she read the book, did comparisons to what the characters had access to-to what we have on hand. She was very much interested on where we’re at in the order of stored food, fuel, ammunition, band aids, bartering materials, etc. I pick out what needs to be acquired, we talk about it, I pick it up, she helps bag and tag and inventories.

  11. Interesting article. I think your understandable point of view is the many husbands who have wives that they are trying to convince to the being prepared view. I am a member of a closed Facebook group that is for women only that is dedicated to prepping. There are more than 10,000 of us. It is a very active page. There are a lot of women there who are having the same problem with resistant husbands. Thanks for presenting such a reasonable view of how to deal with a not yet awake spouse. Keep up the good work.
    And for women who read this, look for other women to share with it’s not all just guys.

    1. Thank you very much! One of these days I hope to post an article on the same subject written by a woman. As you mention, there is a large group out there who are trying to do the same thing.


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