About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's their rank, not ours!

We've all seen it: a military spouse who, for whatever reason, believes that he/she should be elevated in the spouse community because of his/her soldier-spouse's rank. Now, I can't speak for the enlisted community, but I can certainly say that in my years being married to an officer I've seen more than my share of milspouses who acted as if they wore the rank. We are all proud of our spouses. They sacrifice and serve and, in time, are promoted. As they move up in rank, privileges are added. Some of those privileges are accorded to us in the process, such as our housing. For instance: now that my wife is a moving up in rank we are finally living in a single family home on post. It's a first for us. I remember well the days of duplexes and apartments. We all do. Some of you who are reading this are probably still there. (Take heart... you won't be there forever!)

But what is amazing to me is how some spouses take access to these privileges as a sign that with their soldier's promotions they have also been promoted in the "spouse ranks". I had the unfortunate experience several weeks ago of sitting through a meeting where one spouse of a high ranking officer talked to the group. I was shocked at how this person began to talk in a very nice but still condescending manner to the rest of us. Inwardly, I just shook my head. Someone else at the meeting texted me during that talk and said " (this person) wears her husband's rank!" And I thought I was the only one who noticed it!

I'm fully aware of the difference in experience between a spouse who's been part of the military family for 20 years and a spouse who's only been a part of it for 3 years. Nevertheless, I'm of the opinion that whether your husband/wife is a PFC or a Full Bird colonel doesn't change who you or I are as a spouse. Respect and honor are due to our soldiers on the basis of their rank, more so if they've earned it from those they lead or serve with. As spouses, I believe that respect and honor is not something that should be given based on who you are married to, but on how you conduct yourself. I'm sure some spouses have done great things. But if they come in and expect deference based on their husband/wife's rank, well... that's just not the way it works.

As milspouses we have the unenviable task of holding things together and keeping the house running (ever heard of Household 6?) while they go to work defending our country. A PFC's wife does no more or less than a Captain's spouse. I'm reminded of the Bible verse in the New Testament that said "he who would be great must first be a servant of all."

As our journey in the Army has progressed I've come to realize that just because I've been through a couple of deployments or just because we've moved MANY times doesn't mean I know everything or have all of the answers. When I attend FRG meetings I look at everyone there as being in the same boat as I am. I simply couldn't imagine striding to the front of the room and "assuming" leadership of the FRG just because of who my wife is. We should give honor and deference to the spouses who work hard for the unit, who show up at every bake sale and car wash, who call to check on hurting families of wounded warriors and who are there for the spouses of the fallen. Those are the true leaders of our spouse community. Who their husband/wife may be is irrelevant. What they've given back to our other spouses is everything. That's what matters.

I'm sure that this blog will elicit some strong feelings, some in agreement with me, others who couldn't disagree more. That's fine. Feel free to comment as you like. This is something that's been on my mind for a while. If nothing else, it will make us all aware of how we conduct ourselves when we are around other milspouses.

Free Blog Counter

You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... @Armyspouse007

6 comments:

  1. But I really thought you had all the answers!

    Great post, I absolutely HATE the bumper sticker, Don't Confuse Your Rank With My Authority. What does that even mean?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is mostly for parents, meaning when you are in my house it does not matter what rank you are...(it's supposed to be a joke)

      Delete
  2. I love this post (I'm a new stalker/follower). My husband is a Sr. NCO..I have been lucky to not get a bad vibe or attitude from an Officer's spouse; and I'm the FRG Leader - my officers are Officer's spouses!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My impression is that the spouses who do this simply don't have a life. It is a way to compensate the lack of self-confidence. Sort of "Hey, I did not finish college, but my husband is a captain. I am better than you!"
    It not working vs. stay-at-home parents, either. I know people who don't work outside the house and still have self-respect and respect for the others. And that crazy colonel's wife, who was all over the news for harassing soldiers and spouses, actually has a pretty good job.... So, in my opinion, this really has to do with self-confidence.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well said, Tim. I have seen this go a few ways, the young wife who desperately wants to get involved but thinks her "rank" is too low so she doesn't speak up. And, of course, the senior wife who rules her roost like Gen Patton, squashing every idea and offer that comes from the underlings. I've been to an FRG meeting where we were asked to introduce ourselves and include our husbands name and rank - WHAT??? We are all equal in the FRG! When I first got married and was 20, there were no other young spouses for me to hang out with. I really didn't get why I couldn't just make friends at the FRG and hang out with whomever I wanted. Of course a senior wife quickly informed me that "we" don't fraternize with "them". During these many deployments and trying times, I say - make friends wherever you can. Get support from any other spouse who offers it. There is no rank structure among spouses - we all face the same trials!

    ReplyDelete
  5. So the other day I answered a survey on Facebook that was gauging what rank you would be if you were in the army, and I got a General. So I think I will print that out as my "get out of jail free" card as I move forward in this life. 8>)

    In all seriousness, very well said and dually noted. Jennifer's comment was a GREAT addition to your blog also. Having yet to actually have an experience in this life outside of social networking, I am both scared and excited about the adventure that lies ahead. But what I am most scared about is being in the room with the person you described who had a condescending tone and after the meeting telling them. Lucky for me I too believe in the scripture vs you shared. As well as the one that when summed up says, "fear no man, only the Lord".

    ReplyDelete