The Prepper Marriage

The Prepper Marriage

The principles for a healthy prepper marriage are similar to the principles for any other healthy marriage but with the tremendous added complication that the spouses may be at different stages in the mental and emotional aspects of their respective preparedness journeys.  In fact, in my experience it’s rare to find a prepper family where both both spouses are equally convinced of the need to prepare and consequently, equally committed to preparedness.  Even if you and your husband or wife aren’t on exactly the same preparedness page you can use the techniques described here to strengthen your marriage and move towards more harmony in both your marriage and your preparedness life.

Family and Community Support is one of the ten fundamentals of our Full Spectrum Preparednes Doctrine and there is no relationship more important to individual and family happiness and fulfillment than a healthy marriage.  If you and your spouse are mutually supportive and completely committed it also adds incalculable resilience to you both individually and to your family collectively.  Just like a strong faith in God is a ‘force multiplier,’ a strong sense of faith in your marriage and each other will give you the strength to better handle life’s adversities.

Experts tell us that achieving and maintaining a healthy marriage is a process and you can use the following principals both to keep a great prepper marriage great or improve a marriage in jeopardy.

Principals of A Health Prepper Marriage

  1.  Ma & Pa Prepper Good Communications:  I started my commissioned service in the U.S. Army as a Signals Intelligence Officer.  As a SIGINTer we were trained in radio theory and application.  At it’s most basic, radio communications requires a transmitter and a receiver.  Often the transmitter and receiver swap roles to form a conversation where information or instructions are passed, questioned (for clarification), clarified and confirmed.  Communications works best when both the transmitter and receiver speak the same ‘language’ (they even taught us a new phonetic alphabet to use) and there’s no enemy jammer (just a high powered radio that overpowers the friendly transmitter) blocking reception.  Communications with your spouse is a little more complicated but adhere to the same principals with the additional caveat that both spouses must know what to communicate and that’s based on shared expectations.  Additionally, practice active listening which includes what the military calls backbriefing or repeating back to your spouse what you understand him/her to be saying.  There’s even jamming involved in some spousal communications which may take many forms including a needy child, cell phone, television or even just an emotional response (unrelated or to the conversation itself) that effectively blocks communications.  Make time to communicate on important and mundane manners in a jammer free environment.
  2. Mutual Respect & Acceptance:  If your spouse doesn’t feel that you respect him/her that jammer’s going to be blocking your message.  Many people enter relationships intent on changing the other person to meet their needs.  If you’re guilty of this, vow to move beyond it.  Those idiosyncrasies that made you fall in love with your spouse may now be driving you crazy…vow to rediscover what made you originally treat your husband or wife’s little oddities as cute rather than crazy.  Additionally, if you ever get the question the answer is “no those jeans are very slimming!”
  3. Trust:  Once lost it’s very difficult to rebuild trust.  Do everything you can to keep trust in your prepper marriage and if you ever screw up and breach his/her trust…be very patient as it will take a long time to regain it.  Early in our marriage I committed a lie of omission and failed to mention financial arrangement…it took twelve years, but I earned her trust back…got kind of sick of eating all that crow though.
  4. Fairness & Equality:  Strive to be fair and equitable in your marriage.  Workloads should be fair, not in that each spouse should cook half the meals or vacuum half the rooms but in that each spouse should contribute equally to the family and household in general.  For example, a stay at home spouse may do more around the house as the working outside the house contributes by earning a living.  Speaking of earning a living, fairness applies the family’s finances as well.  I’ve seen spouses that treat their household finances as if they were roommates…not for long though as these spousemates either realize their mistake or go their separate ways.  No matter who is bringing the money into the household both spouses should have a certain amount of money set aside as a personal budget.  This eliminates all the ‘you spent money on that!’ arguments.  Additionally, the preparedness tasks may fall disproportionately on one spouse, that’s alright as long as the other spouse contributes to the household in other ways and maintains at least the preparedness minimums.
  5. Distinct Identities:  You are your own person and must maintain your own, distinct identity both for your own sanity and your spouse’s interest (and amusement).  I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it when my my wife discovers something (usually knowledge) that’s new and exciting and brings it home to share with me…it’s even better when it has a preparedness or self reliance aspect.
  6. Positive Self Esteem:  The more confident you are, the less you will you will mistakenly look to your spouse to ‘fill’ that need.  I tell my wife how sweet, smart and beautiful she is regularly but she already knows all that so anything I say is icing on the cake.  Conversely, I’ve met men and women who’s entire self image was reliant on the comments of others…without constant attention such weak minded people drop into despair or make destructive life choices.  If you don’t know who you are, what you stand for and what value you add to your family and community…decide or at least fake it until you do.  I for one find that every skill I develop that makes me more self reliant is a tremendous boost to my self esteem and confidence.  Additionally, the more positive your self image is the less time you’ll spend arguing with your spouse defending your own weak self image and the easier problem solving seems to be.
  7. Understanding That Conflict Is Normal:  Every marriage has conflict.  It’s how you deal with the conflict that’s important.  Have honest, frank but respectful discussions when you disagree and keep the above principals in mind.  Never resort to name calling and limit any arguments to the matter at hand only.

Stages Of The Prepper Marriage

Just like sheeple marriages, prepper marriages go through similar stages but complicated by the fact that one spouse discovers preparedness and brings it into the marriage.  These stages tend to be linear but a relationship can be kicked back to an earlier stage and have to progress through again.

  1. Romantic Love:  If you’re a single prepper what a great opportunity you have to enter this first stage with someone you meet through a prepper meetup or mutual prepper friends.  I’m not sure if I was still at this stage with a non-prepper if I’d admit to being a prepper as it might lead to the next stage.  Don’t get used to this stage…it doesn’t last.
  2. Disillusionment:  Familiarity breeds contempt and there’s no better way to become familiar with someone than by living with them.  Be very careful in pushing a preparedness agenda if you are currently in a period of disillusionment.  A better approach if you are the prepparedness pusher at this stage is ‘dual use’ skills and equipment.  Camping gear, hunting gear or gardening are safe, generally acceptable ‘dual use’ skills or hobbies.  Hang in there, don’t quit!
  3. Power Struggle:  In prepper marriages that are mismatched (one spouse more preparedness minded than the other) a power struggle will eventually develop.  The power struggle may revolve around skills to teach or not teach the children, how to spend family/couples time or whether to spend the disposable income on an additional years worth of food or a trip to see a Broadway show.  Hang in there and stay respectful because the good stuff is next.
  4. Acceptance / Cooperation:  This is the start of the good stuff.  By now you should have an active participant in your preparedness journey or at the very least an effective cheerleader.  Don’t blow it and get knocked back to an earlier stage (unless it’s Stage 1 for a period of time).
  5. Transformation:  When you move beyond Acceptance and Cooperation to Transformation you and your spouse become a walking advertisement for what marriage can become and if you’re a part of a preparedness group your marriage will likely form the foundation of that group.

Tactics, Tools and Techniques For A Healthy Prepper Marriage

Now that we’ve talked about the principals of a healthy prepper marriage and the stages a prepper marriage goes through, let’s explore some tactics, tools and techniques for keeping a prepper marriage healthy:

  • Write Your Love a Letter:  Tell him/her how happy they make you, how much you appreciate being married to him/her, how proud you are and how much you love him/her and the life you’ve made together.  Hint:  You might want to leave prepping out of the love letter unless you can sneak in something like “you look so pretty/handsome when I look out the kitchen window and see you maintaining the garden”…nah, on second thought, just leave the prepping out of the letter.
  • Plan A Date:  I’m not talking about taking your love to the shooting range…unless that’s what they really like to do.  Plan a date that you know your spouse will appreciate and bonus points if they know that it’s not an activity that you would pick for yourself.  Oh, and don’t forget to dress for the occasion.
  • Practice Good Communications:  As described above, talk to each other without distractions.
  • Own Your Messages:  Say what you feel to each other and don’t blame the other person for your message or your actions as in “I only ignored you because you didn’t…”
  • Be Flexible:  This is an important skill in both marriage and prepping, practice it in both.
  • Let Your Spouse Know You Care:  One of the things my wife does that makes me feel like she cares is bringing me a plate when I lose track of time and mealtime comes around.  Use your imagination.
  • Take Care Of Yourself:  Your spouse cares about you, so take care of the person that your spouse cares about.
  • Back Each Other Up:  Don’t undercut your spouse in public.  Even if you disagree, back each other up on public and discuss disagreements in private.
  • Have Fun & Live Your Life:  Don’t spend so much time preparing for contingencies that you forget to enjoy life and make life worth living.  

Without a strong family connection based around a healthy marriage, life is less rewarding and you are less prepared than you could be.  Are you part of a Ma & Pa Prepper couple?  Do you have advice that helps keep your marriage healthy?  If so, pass it along in the comments.

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