If you’ve found yourself head over heels for someone who’s stockpiled gallons of water, first-aid supplies, and canned food, has a frighteningly large collection of firearms, and has garnered the kind of homesteading skills (i.e., canning and living off the grid) your great grandma would be proud of—you’re not alone.
According to the American Preppers Network, a prepper is someone who strongly believes in self-reliance. Many people think preppers are conspiracy theorists who believe the world is coming to an end soon—whether that’s by World War III, a deadly global pandemic that unleashes the zombie apocalypse, or some other uncontrollable phenomenon. But actually, most of them are just people who want to maintain a certain standard of living if something unexpected were to happen, such as a job loss or natural disaster.
There are approximately five million preppers in the United States. Despite the bad rep they may have, even they need a little lovin’. The question is, if getting ready for the end of days isn’t really your thing, what should you expect as you prep to marry your doomsday prepper?
Elise Xavier, who launched the survival website MoreThanJustSurviving.com with her husband Thomas in 2013, says preppers are the best kind of life partners to have because, well, they’re prepared for anything. “If times get tough and things go wrong, with a prepper for a spouse, you're likely with someone who will often step up and really help save the day,” she says. “Rough times are never so rough if you've planned for them properly.”
Certainly, planning a wedding ceremony and reception with someone whose life goal is to be ready for any worst-case scenario has its perks. In addition to thinking ahead about potential disasters on the big day, Xavier says a dedicated prepper will also be responsible when it comes to the wedding budget.
“Preppers are more likely to be frugal, self-sufficient, and more DIY-oriented than most,” Xavier explains. “You know that ‘ready for everything’ attitude that Boy Scouts are often known for having? That's the kind of attitude your spouse is likely to have if he/she is a prepper.”
With that comes a certain degree of awareness of his surroundings, says Lisa Bedford, who’s authored several prepping books and runs The Survival Mom. “He will want to sit with his back to the wall when you go out to eat,” she says. “He's going to glance around to look for anything that looks suspicious and will always know where the exits are.”
“He will probably want to blend in with the crowd and may very likely eschew bright Hawaiian shirts or anything else that draw attention to him,” Bedford adds. “When you look through his closet, you'll probably find plenty of t-shirts in grays, dark blues, and black. He probably considers himself to be ‘the gray man.’ ”
If hypothetical projections from University of Leicester physics students ever prove true, having a prepper for a partner could also mean the difference between eating and being eaten: In two studies published in January, researchers concluded that fewer than 300 humans would be left alive on the entire planet after 100 days of an infectious zombie outbreak.
“Don't be surprised when he takes his role as your protector seriously,” Bedford says. “As a prepper, he keeps his eyes on potential dangers and, because of his love for you, he will naturally want to protect you, your home, and your children.”
Another thing to consider is the likelihood that your partner, however crazy he/she might seem, will eventually rub off on you. One woman who’d been married to her prepper husband for 10 years admitted that she found herself slowly conforming to his way of thinking, despite sometimes feeling frustrated by his obsession. “I do try to keep the gas tanks in the cars full at all times now, and I do find myself thinking about buying extra of things I find on sale, things that I feel qualify as my own personal survival gear,” the unnamed woman wrote on a forum for popular survival gear shop Survivor Preppers USA. “I also have been practicing shooting my husband's guns. As a matter of fact, he just bought me my very own G19 because I handled his so well.”
“I guess changing my mindset is a work in progress,” the woman concluded, “and I don't see me ever becoming quite as dedicated to it as he is, but I do admire his drive, and I suppose one day, I might be thankful for his diligence.”
I mean, when it comes to weddings, solid planning is everything, right?