Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Officer's Wife

There are stereotypes about almost every type of person in the world. In the military, this is no exception. There are stereotypes about enlisted wives and about officer wives. For those of you who are unaware, F is a 2nd Lieutenant. As an officer's wife, it's amazing how many things people assume about me and sometimes even say to my face. I do a pretty good job of keeping quiet but maybe I should make a few things clear.
For starters, my husband and I do not think we are better than anyone. I have actually had people say they won't hang out with me because "I probably think I'm better than them". If I truly thought I was better than someone, I would most likely stay away from that person. If I am talking to you and looking to hang out, I think of you as an equal, not a lesser, person. Don't assume what I think unless you know it's a fact. The only reason my husband is an officer is because he has a college degree and went through a program to get commissioned.
Just last week we went to a retirement ceremony for a Chief Master Sergeant who has a Masters. Sure, he's enlisted but there's no way my husband or I would think we're better than him. He's a very educated man with 32 years of military service who chose to be enlisted because he likes his job. F chose to be an officer for the simple fact that it paid better, not because he thinks he's better than anyone else. As for me, I have no rank so I don't care what your husband's rank is. As long as you are a good person, you have my kindness.
Second, while it's true that my husband makes more because he's an officer, this does not mean we are living on a pile of cash. To be perfectly honest, it's quite the opposite. We are good friends with a couple here who are at a much lower pay grade than F. However, they have 3 cars (one of which is a sports car) and were looking at buying a house while still paying their rent on the one they're in now because they can't get out of the lease. Obviously this means they are financially in a good place. F and I, on the other hand, each have a car and only use one to save on gas because we can't afford to fill both tanks regularly. Essentially, we live paycheck to paycheck. We have thousands of dollars worth of student loans to pay off (mostly F's but some are mine too) that make us rather poor. F is almost always stressing over finances and I feel awful when I have to ask for money to pay a bill or get something that's absolutely needed. Just because he wears some shiny bar on his uniform does not mean we are in rich. In fact, I can bet you that there are many enlisted families that have more money than us.
I apologize for this mini rant but I've had a few situations where I've heard "well, it's different for you because you're husband's an officer" and I thought it was time to set the record straight. Yes, my husband is an officer. However, he puts his pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else. He and I are not some special supergods because of his rank. We don't go around informing everyone that's he an officer. We don't think we are better than anyone else. And we most certainly are not rich. In fact, sometimes being an officer's wife is rough because a lot of people don't want to befriend an officer's wife and you often find yourself struggling to make friends. Or people make these assumptions that you're snooty, rich, etc. and it's insulting and upsetting. So, before you assume anything about anyone of any rank, get to know the may be surprised what you learn.

1 comment:

  1. I think that we've all been on the recieving end of someone assuming things about us. I was blogging about that a few weeks ago too. It stinks!! I'm just trying to learn from it and find the areas that I have made assumptions about others. I confess I've done it too. (That also stinks!)