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.
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10 thoughts on “One in a Million. Would Your Spouse Live the Off-Grid Lifestyle?”
The thing you forgot in your “choices” (choose to go on without spouse or stay where you are) is the compromise that a GOOD marriage can come up with…a little of staying where you are, a little more minimalist. Why does it have to be all or nothing? The answer is, it doesn’t, and each person has to take into account the other’s personality. For instance, my husband of 24 years (whom I adore) tends to jump into something with both feet. I’m a more wait-and-see type. But when my husband brought up the idea of prepping to me (was it just this last spring??) he was ready to spend thousands of dollars (that we didn’t have AND he was unemployed at the time) to buy “food insurance” buckets. I listened, looked into the things that he was concerned about for myself (devaluation of the dollar, political unrest, etc etc) and decided to jump in myself, BUT instead of pre-packaged buckets of god-knows-what, I simply bought more of what we already use, and have built up a respectable stockpile in the last 6 months. I’ve looked at all the lists, and created 72 hour bags for each of us. In short, I stopped him from jumping into the deep end, and he showed me a gap in our lifestyle. This, to me, is the epitome of “married”. We each have strengths that bolster the other’s weknesses.
Lisa in AZ
Lisa, I also had the urge to jump in feet first almost four years ago. It started on Nov 8th when I hung a US flag off of my garage in a manner that indicated distress. The ignorance of some people in the area cause unrest for my wife and I ended up removing it for her peace of mind. It taught me a valuable lesson. ASK first! I realized my actions impacted her lifestyle. We have talked about an “off the grid” lifestyle and while I grew up in such a manner, she didn’t, I would be much more comfortable with it than she would, however she has not refused but has made it clear that it is not a preference. While I do not take her position as a “line in the sand”, I do understand that she has no real desire to live in a manner that some would construe as less comfortable. This being said, my wonderful wife has been and is a balance for me, and I think if more men in the world were to ask for input on decisions that could, would and do impact a family lifestyle, society would be much different.
Together we have been “off grid” financially preparing for more than twenty years due primarily to scriptural examples, more recently,(the last six years) we have been prepping in other ways. My wife’s input has shown me ways that people could be more practically living without being primitive about it. In closing, thank you for demonstrating prepping does not need to be a battle or put a person in the poor house, but can be done much easier as a team.
MB in MT
Thanks, Lisa, for your insight. I needed to hear that. I am single and have no one to bounce my ideas around with and reel me in when necessary – I looked at those food buckets, too, and decided to do exactly what you suggested: stock up on what I already eat that will last awhile. Don’t think there are any mortal saviors out there in this Election – Thank God for God, or I would truly go nuts.
I am grateful that I came across this article. My boyfriend and I are facing some situations that are very new for the both of us. He lives in an intentional, sustainable community, i do not. His initial plan is and was to commit to 1 year there. He does maintenance and construction work and has lots and lots of responsibilities that give him basically no “off” time. I want to respect his dreams and see him when is able, as he does with me. We both are trying to find the balance for this – when I come visit after my day’s work at my job, I’ll have to get to work there, too, and we can bond when doing projects together. This is a little bit nerve wracking for me because he is the only person I am familiar with at this place. I do not mind getting to work in order to see him, which will help him, ‘look good’ to these other folks because it shows we are trying, and I will even learn something, although we are both still feeling hesitant that our idea is the best one. Do you have any tips for those who have relationships while in that kind of setting? We both are so intent on making this work harmoniously while respecting the duties we each have in our own lives. I would love to hear any advice with this!
My husband and I have been married for over a year (still technically newlyweds); however, we are discovering our differences each day. Not all differences are bad because they give each person a chance to grow in new ideas and gain new perspectives. This issue with my husband and I is lifestyle. He wants to live a very minimalist lifestyle, completely off the grid. He wants to be the “master” of his food, money, and essentially labor. This isn’t just an idea for him, but rather ingrained. He studied philosophy and sociology in college and was very moved by the readings and authors. Unfortunately, I want to live a more comfortable lifestyle. I’ve tried meeting him in the middle on things, but he refuses to get a 40hour a week job, and he also refuses to take out a loan or mortgage. I’ve compromised on the house size, land, and location, and it’s still not enough. He wants to do the “tiny house” movement, and travel across country. Yes, it will save us money, but I don’t want to live like that forever. Call me whatever you want, but I guess I value materials more than I thought.
If she puts up with you doping around in that hat plus a perpetual state of “unshaveness” then yes – she will most likely live the off grid lifestyle with your hipster ass.
Sounds a little hostile, considering that this is just a stock photo of two random models. 🙂
Where’s that singles site? I’m looking.
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