The other day I joined a discussion on a Facebook page about spouses who “wear their husband’s rank.” Most of us have heard the stories; the officer spouse who gets mad when they are not saluted upon passing through the front gate, a spouse who behaves badly towards a spouse whose husband is of a lower rank, and stereotypes about spouses who are married to both enlisted or officer military members. Is this for real or just an urban legend?
Similar to the Mommy Wars, the Rank Wars are a frequent topic of conversation in the military spouse community. As a part of this particular online discussion, I questioned whether they are really alive and well, or if we are simply taking the behaviors of a few bad apples and projecting them onto an entire group of people.
In almost 16 years of marriage, I can honestly say that I never once recall someone flat-out asking me about the rank of my husband. I am pretty active in the spouse community and, in fact, one could say I am immersed in military spouse life. Perhaps I have encountered a few spouses over the years who behaved in a less-than-desirable manner, and perhaps their husbands outranked mine. But I always just figured it was just the kind of person they were; they would act that way no matter what profession their husband chose.
Goodness gracious, someone could knock on my door tomorrow with a list of all my military spouse friends and say, “If you can list the rank of even half of their service members, we will give you a million dollars!”… Well, I would be out a million bucks. And I don’t think I am an exception. I truly believe that most of us have no clue what rank the husbands or wives of our friends have earned. More importantly I believe that the large majority of us do not care…