One in a million spouses, that is, would dare live the survivalist/self-sufficient lifestyle. The thought came to me as I watched my wife, Sheila, sweep the plywood floors of our hacienda style house and thought to myself, how many wives would even consider living this way? The plywood floors will be replaced next spring with tapped clay floors – and that will present its own challenges – but really, when you break it down, how many of us have a spouse who would even for minute consider the self-sufficient, minimalist life style? Truth is, maybe 1 in a million would choose the off-grid lifestyle.
Just take a look at survivalist single sites. It’s mostly men looking for a woman to share their cabin in the wilderness with. Women have a nesting instinct (nothing sexist in that remark, it’s just a truth of physiology) and usually seem to know exactly what they want. Men also know exactly what they want. Regrettably, the two seldom find common ground.
One of the books of ancient wisdom says “two cannot walk together lest they be agreed.” Unfortunately, we have seen a lot of people trying to do just that – living the off-grid lifestyle because that’s what their partner wants, not because that’s what they want. This always results in failure. All too often that failure exhibits itself in sub-conscious self-sabotage.
Convincing your spouse
I can’t count the number of times someone has contacted us to ask us to convince their spouse to agree with them about the need to prepare. Certainly more than the number of times we’ve met a couple who shared the same sentiments about the self-sufficient lifestyle. And it’s about 50/50 as to whether it’s the woman or the man in the relationship who “needs convincing”. Not everyone is cut out for a lifestyle that depends on a few deep cell batteries and solar panels to provide some of the finer things in life!
But the truth is, you can’t – and shouldn’t try – to convince anyone to live a lifestyle that is foreign to them. All you can do is put the information before them and allow them to do with it what they will. If that is ignore it or run away from it, then they’ll ignore it and run away from it. If they ask more questions, perhaps they can face the reality of what is happening and can understand the need to take action after being given a bit more information. Taking small steps towards greater self-sufficiency without going completely off grid could be a way to find a happy medium.
But if the significant other cannot bring themselves to make a life-change, then the next step is to make your decision. You may choose to go on to a new lifestyle without your spouse – or you may choose to stay where you both are. Each circumstance is unique and no decision about this should be judged by others outside of the relationship. But if you make the decision to stay, do it with your eyes open and without resentment of the other person. Do it because it’s your choice, given all the information, emotional information included.
However, in the infinitesimal number of cases in which both spouses are of the same mind about living the self-sufficient/survivalist life, amazing things can be accomplished by two people who love each other and work together on a common goal.
Certainly, one can survive alone. But if you are going to live the self-sufficient life with someone, make sure it’s someone who honestly has the same goal as you.
Dan and Sheila are the authors of Surviving Survivalism – How to Avoid Survivalism Culture Shock.
Updated from the original article published on September 24, 2012.