Couples can embrace their differences, even if they're prepping for the end of the world

May 07, 2012

I would personally like to thank National Geographic for abandoning its mission of education, science and natural beauty long enough to bring us a television show chronicling the activities of a handful of certifiable wackos.

This would be the community known as “preppers,” people who believe the world is going to end, or at least partially end, and want to be able to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

Before I offend (and you know it’s coming) any of these preppers, especially the ones with guns — which is pretty much all of them — I should mention that I’m not too far from going over to the dark side myself.

I raise my own beef, have a generator hardwired to the fuse box and, in a pinch, could rely on a wood-burning fireplace. So basically, I already have one foot in the cave, so to speak.

But frankly, I’m not sure that staying alive on a smoldering planet devoid of cities, modern transport, vegetation or cable TV is going to be any real advantage.

And a lot of these groups are Christian-based, which makes me wonder what God thinks about all this. Here you have a class of people who would rather live in caves, eat rats and fight wolves every day than come home to His loving arms. I think I might be a little offended that someone was trying so desperately to avoid me.

But the beauty of America is that there is room for all opinions, so far be it from me to criticize anyone who wants to develop the skills to snare rabbits and manufacture kerosene out of tap water and toadstools.

But what if those opinions are split within your own household? It happens. But fortunately there are advice columns for preppers, designed to answer awkward questions, such as “What if your wife thinks you are a stark- raving loon?”

“Unfortunately,” writes American Preppers Network columnist Alex Newton, “one of the most common issues new preppers face is a spouse that has a differing opinion on the necessity of prepping or worse yet, has a downright negative attitude about it.”

No doubt. You’re there chucking space blankets and cases of dried pinto beans into your underground bunker, and she’s standing there, arms folded, lips pressed into a thin line praying for all the world that the neighbors won’t see you getting ready for your future life as a human cockroach.

Of course, these advice-seeking letters are probably crossing in the mail. He’s writing to Alex asking how he can get his wife interested in prepping at the same time she’s writing to Abby to express her fears that he’s turning into a bug-eyed crackpot.

Alex does have a couple of good ideas about how to deal with a nonbelieving spouse. Break her in gently; start off with a flashlight and a couple of spare batteries and build on that. Makes sense. Don’t go stampeding off to the hardened-concrete machine gun nest right out of the chute.

I’m not sure about this idea, though: “One way to get your spouse involved in prepping is to make it a family event that everyone will enjoy.”

Maybe that would work. Yea! Nuclear holocaust! I’ll bring the homemade Popsicles.

But here’s what I like about Alex. He says that you should respect her decision, even if, at the end of the day, she still doesn’t come around. There’s no reason anyone’s views need be forced on anyone else. Alex, from one wacko to another, I think that’s pretty solid advice.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at

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