Saturday, March 5, 2011

Getting the Wife on Board

I was browsing the internet as usual when all of a sudden my wife asks “Hey, what’s that?”
If you peep over my shoulder while I’m on the computer you’ll usually find text being written, reviews, or all sort of pictures ranging from gear such as knives and guns to disasters and current events.
On my screen at the time a Victorinox Rescue Tool was being displayed. Given that I have numerous knives of all sorts, ranging from ordinary pocket knives, to tactical folders, from a knives worth hundreds (even  thousands)  of dollars to self made ones, never has my wife shown much interest in any of them. I did convince her of carrying the Spyderco Delica I bought her, but she had never shown an interest in knives out of thin air like now. This was new territory.
I cautiously explained, doing my best to hide my surprise, like a hunter trying not to scare away a prey. “That? Its a Victorinox Rescue Tool”. There. Now she only had to bite the bait. She did. “It looks nice, how does it work?”
 Victorinox Swiss Army Rescue Tool 
 “Its for getting yourself out of car wrecks mostly. It has a window breaking tool, another one for cutting the broken glass and a seat belt cutting tool”.
She surprised me by remembering something she must have seen over a year ago and I never thought she paid much attention to. “Your Leatherman, the one you carry all the time, that one has a seat belt cutting hook too, no?”. I nodded “Yes, but this one is more of a curved blade. It also has a nice big locking blade like their latest Soldier model, the one being issued to the Swiss army. Give me a minute and I’ll show you the youtbe demo for the rescue tool”.
I went on explaining “ Remember the floods in Buenos Aires these last few days, or the ones in Bazil? People get caught in their cars during such disasters. Sometimes the current is so strong you can’t open the doors, the windows don’t open if they are electrically operated. Even if you can lower them by hand, water may flow in and you can’t get out because of the current and people drown. In those cases  the fastest way of getting out is smashing the windshield. I once read of a guy that saved his life by shooting the windshield with his gun after it fell into a lake. You need something to break the glass”.
After seeing the clip she asked “ Could you buy me one?”. I said of course and ordered one right away. I meant to get one of these anyway for reviewing since it won the 2007 Knife of the year award.  
This happened a couple weeks ago. About a week later my wife mentioned that given the situation world wide, she thought having a fully equipped NBC shelter at home was a great idea. She went on explaining the numerous events in which it would prove to be a life saver. Of course I agreed with everything, had in fact thought about all that for years, but it was nice to hear her come to some of the same conclusions I did.
When it comes to getting the wife(or husband) on board there’s some advice that will make things easier:

1) Do what you believe you have to do. This often comes up regarding firearms and one of the spouses not agreeing with having a firearm in the house. If you’re as serious as you should be, rather than asking if you can, you should explain why you’ll be buying a firearm instead, not asking and leaving the option for a “no”. You can be very understandable and take note of your better half’s concerns by getting adequate training and keeping the gun secured in a safe, but you get it anyway. Same thing with food supplies and water. You know they are essential for life, so you don’t ask for permission you just do it. There will be time later to talk but first you take the minimum steps needed for basic family preparedness.
2) Be patient and respectful of the other person. We’re not all alike and some people need more time to digest information or to come around. My wife came from a “no gun” family with the typical liberal mentality where its believed that a gun means trouble rather than protection. With lots of patience but also being firm regarding my own convictions she has come around.
3) Plant seeds, one at a time. Mention articles you may have read about current world events, talk about the crime incidents that are now starting to become more and more common close to your location. Little by little, a grain of sand at a time, your spouse will start noticing all these pieces of info that otherwise where ignored or not fully digested. This is natural human behavior. If something scares you/worries you the natural reaction is to avoid it, so you don’t have to deal with it, and if you don’t worry about dealing with it you stay in your comfort zone of blissful ignorance. Meanwhile, the survival minded person prefers to accept these events and get ready for them. We’re not looking for fear mongering here, but getting rid of the mass ostrich mentality of sticking the head in the sand.
4)Finally, find points of common interest. Survival and preparedness basically involves every human activity to some extent. If you’re spouse is into economy or finances there’s more than enough to talk about given the current crisis, from inflation to unemployment, changes in the market, etc. Guys usually like guns, knives and tools in general. My wife likes gardening. This covers ground like food production, medicinal plants and defensive landscaping. Finding a point of common interest may open the door to a wider survival and preparedness mindset.
Be patient and the other person will eventually come around understanding why preparedness makes so much sense.
Take care,


Bill N. said...

I use to work at a body shop and except for a few classic cars, all the windshields in the US are a laminate so it is almost impossible to bust through. Even if you shoot it all you do is crack it and punch holes in it. The laminate inside the glass will hold the windshield together in all except the most extreme impacts. The side and rear windows are a different story. If you press a spring loaded punch against them or shoot them they crumble into little pieces. The Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel has had a couple of episodes concerning getting out of a submerged car. They found that if the car submerges the water pressure exerted on the door glass prevented it from being lowered even with manual windows. The best solution was to bust a window using a spring loaded punch or rescue tool and climb out through the window.

Suzanne said...

I'm the "prepper" in my household. It really takes a while to get the spouse on board.
My husband is on-board with the firearms and ammo, and "okay" with the purchases of silver.
He fusses about my ongoing purchases of food... We have a small house and the freeze-dried food is in his closet, and the hallway outside the bedroom is lined with 5-gallon buckets of stored dried foods (pasta, grains, beans, etc.).
At one point he asked me what I was up to with all this, and I explained that we have a relatively short amount of time to get ready for the SHTF... massive inflation and currency collapse. He seemed to understand that I was trying to look after him.
Now when he fusses, I tell him that he'd better hope I'm storing the right stuff!

Tamara said...

About point number three: It is very very easy to do this point incorrectly and, even though you think you are just telling your spouse the news, this ends up scaring the Hell out of your spouse when you are away. Some people take quiet a long bit of time to transition between the "holy crap that scary" response and the "it isn't so scary if we prepare for it" solution.

I agree that this step has to happen, but I wish to reemphasize the importance of time in this process.

Anonymous said...

Good article overall.

My wife isn't at all on board but she is starting to be more accepting of what she calls my "little project".

The firearms thing I agree with. I would like at least one more (ideally more) but don't know how I can work that just yet. I won't do it behind her back.

Anonymous said...

i totally agree. this is how i handled the conversation with my wife regarding a purchase of a firearm for self-defense. after i had gone through the evidence as to why i wanted one, her response was: "'re not asking me, you're telling me. and i should just shut up and get on board because this is going to happen."

"yes," i replied, and i left it at that.

however, i did (and continue to do) all i can to address her fears and concerns. i purchased the weapon, and it stayed locked and unloaded until my NRA "First Shots" pistol training program, 3 weeks later (yeah, i know. but really, i was so ignorant of firearms that i was scared to actually handle the thing myself without the proper training). i purchased a pistol safe to hold the weapon when not in use, and i filed paperwork for my CCW shortly after purchase, so that i've followed all the rules (i'm one of those naive, law-abiding, honest folks).

i'm still working on other aspects of preparation. we've come to an agreement on water, and that's as far as i've gotten so far.

but the OP is right - you do what you feel you must. the only advice i would give is: don't lie, don't hide it. tell them straight-up what you are planning to do, and attempt to address any concerns. i always tell my wife that these kinds of activities are much cheaper than therapy (to treat my paranoia) and they have a happy side-effect - we're prepared!

s in atl.

I drive my tractor in pearls... said...

I bristle when I read the "just do it" part of the post. I understand what you mean, but I cant EMPHASIZE ENOUGH that there must be mutual respect in order for this not to really hurt a marriage.

If the husband is one that does what he wants with little regard for his wife or her feelings, things arent going to be going well now, much less when things get stressful and difficult.

However, if she fees respected - VALUED - she might not be happy but I dont think it will cause the damage that it could.

Another approach would be to supports one of her interests - gardening, canning, cooking, sewing, quilting, whatever and tell her what a value it will be during SHTF.... Make her feel that her contributions are invaluable.

You most possibly will gain an ally and not an adversary :)