Nothing is harder to prepare for than a situation no one wants to talk about. This is the case with being prepared for TEOTAWKI/SHTF situations. No one talks about them, so if the time ever comes you aren’t ready for it. This leads any sensible person to the conclusion that it is better to be ready and never need your preparation (hopefully) then to be confronted with a such a situation and realize you should have been prepared.
When it comes to any major life decisions you need your family on board and your spouse is the most important person to have involved. Families who stick together survive together. While broaching the topic of danger which isn’t imminent can seem difficult and might even incite derision, it is the first and most important step in preparedness.
The best way to broach this subject is to make sure you approach your spouse at a time when he/she is in an open frame of mind and not worried about any day-to-day activities. Make sure you both sit down comfortably, the kids (if any) are safely out of the way and you are both in a reasonably good mood. Start the conversation by bringing up some recent examples from the news. Maybe a weather disaster hit some neighboring area recently or there was a news segment on the war in Syria. Mention how concerned you are about these events and how uncertain the times we live in are.
Once you have brought up the topic notice how your spouse responds to it. Are they concerned, worried, scared? Do they dismiss your concerns? Your spouse’s response is your que on how to further the topic. Maybe your spouse shares your concerns and they have been thinking of putting an emergency plan in place too. Perhaps this does not seem like a valid concern to them at the time. Tailor the rest of the conversation based on the way your spouse reacts.
Do not despair if your spouse dismisses this topic immediately. Some people need time to come around to the idea. Remember this is a process that will involve many such conversations. Try to get to the root of why if they dismiss your concerns. Perhaps your spouse is scared and this prevents them from openly discussing the topic. Occasionally someone might be too stubborn to accept that there is any situation that could arise. If your spouse is stubborn or makes fun of you, end the topic on a polite note. This need not be the end of the conversation. Bring up the topic frequently and express how much it worries you that you as a family have no emergency plan in place. Repeated attempts might change your spouse’s mind. If nothing else it will highlight how seriously you take the subject and even if they don’t agree your partner might get on board for your sake.
After establishing where your spouse stands on the subject of TEOTWAWKI/SHTF/emergency situations you can discuss your emergency plan with them. Describe the preparations you have in place or want to start planning. Keep taking their input and stop to hear their ideas on each matter. You are a team. Validate your partner’s concerns and fears. Discuss what dangers are most likely to arise in your area and how you should prepare for them. Do research as a team. Divide important tasks.
A good way to ensure you both are adequately prepared is to make a checklist. Things like establishing a safe house or a bug-out location, emergency exit plans, food stocking, family bug-out bags and where to meet up if you are apart during an emergency situation should be discussed first. Make sure you are both on the same page on each part of your emergency plan. Schedule monthly or 6 monthly family meetings to update your plan and ensure you both remember all emergency protocols.
Being confronted with a sudden onslaught of scary information can be hard to handle. Disclose your plans in bits and pieces. Keep any terrifying or out-there scenarios to yourself initially and slowly introduce your spouse to more severe situations. A good way to stay motivated is to make a potentially depressing and scary scenario seem fun. Make it a family activity. Plan family camping trips to make it fun and sharpen your skills as a family. Get your kids on board as well. While talking about emergency plans can seem easy, when these plans have to be implemented in real life situations things can go very wrong so practice as a family.
If your spouse loses interest do not get angry with them. Remind them frequently of the dangers they or your children might face. Bringing your children into the conversation can be a game-changer for a reluctant partner. Remind your partner of the potential dangers your children can face in such situations and how their food and water needs are dependent on you both to keep them safe. Another good way to keep your spouse an active member in your family’s emergency plan is to take their input and ask them for their ideas. If only one person plans and the other one is asked to simply carry out plans this can be frustrating. If your spouse is as eager as you are and as involved, you will both benefit from it. Two heads are better than one after all.
Use the family emergency plan as a valuable opportunity to bond with your spouse and strengthen your relationship. In an emergency situation a strong relationship will be invaluable. Make sure you both trust each other with the responsibility of keeping the family safe. Establish an open channel of conversation. Do not be dismissive of your partner. If their initial ideas seem bad or childish do not make fun of them. State gently why you think this might not be the best way to approach the situations and suggest how it might be handled better in another way.
No matter the situation always remember that your spouse is your biggest asset in an emergency situation. They should be the one person you can turn to for advice, help and comfort.