How to get your spouse involved

I distinctly remember when I finally had the Big Talk with my wife about emergency preparedness after months of research and reading. I was waiting for the right time and (luckily) hit it. The good news was that she did not think I was insane.

I asked her to list the possible emergencies for which she would want us prepared. Her exact reply:
  1. Earthquakes
  2. War
  3. Food/Water shortages
  4. Looting

I expanded each of these with her to include the areas you see here and launched this blog to document our successes and failures preparing for each of these scenarios in order to encourage others to opt out en masse as well.

As for failures, here’s my first major one: I stopped communicating with my wife immediately after the above-mentioned conversation. I just went head down into preparation planning and execution.

While I subscribed her to this blog, I never bothered to ask if she would actually want to read it. It turns out, she doesn’t. Her time on the computer is so limited by our current life stage (two young active kids) that she barely has enough time to stay current with friends via email.

Blogs? Facebook? Are you kidding? These don’t even make it onto her radar. Oops.

She watches me read through emergency prep books each evening. She hears me on the phone with contractors getting bids. She talks to me while I’m cutting paths into our steep hillside to make more room for vegetable beds. But through all this, I did not actually communicate with her.

I failed to communicate the Big Picture of what we as a family are preparing for and its cost implications. When viewed individually, the costs can actually be quite alarming. She was recently balancing our checkbook when it came to a head.

“You spent $600 on wheat?!?”

But when you realize (e.g. discuss) that we normally spend $1200 a year on wheat, then a one time hit of $600 for that same amount of wheat begins to make sense financially. It makes you feel good and wise having that amount of food in storage for a rainy day. But only if you talk about it.

Lesson learned. Whether the project is harvesting our rainwater from the roof into food grade tanks or building out a permaculture-style “food forest”, I’m going to communicate with my wife more frequently in her preferred medium – an actual conversation.