Wearing his Rank

Within the military community you often hear women complaining about other spouses who “wear their husband’s rank”.

The general consensus is that those spouses who wear their husband’s rank are pretentious and that such behavior is frowned upon.

The main reason for this being that as spouses we have no rank and therefore it should not play a role in our friendships with each other. Our husband’s accomplishments are not our own and do not make us superior to another spouse.

I find that I am one of the few wives who does care about rank, but not for the reason that many would assume.

I don’t care if your husband is an officer or enlisted. I don’t care if he has been in for a year or twenty years.

But my husband does, because he doesn’t want to break any fraternization rules. He is more conservative then the fraternization rules call for, that is his choice, and one that I respect.

So if my husband can’t hang out with yours, then I don’t really feel the desire to strike up a strong life-long friendship knowing that we can never hang out as a group.

I have friends whose husbands are lower ranking then my husband, and I have friends whose husbands are higher ranking. I don’t think I am better or worse then them just because of my husband’s rank.

But the friends that I spend most of my time with, who I am closest with, are those who are of a similar rank to my husband because we often double date and spend time together as a group. He is friends with the guy, and I am friends with the girl.

I don’t have to watch what I say about my friend’s lives, to worry about getting them in trouble if I tell Jeremy something about their husband that would require that he follow up with them as their superior. And I don’t have to worry about telling them something about Jeremy and having it get back to him because their husband is his superior.

It’s a more comfortable relationship for me to have a friend whose husband is the same rank. And that’s all it is to me. Nothing to do with being superior or living through my husband’s accomplishments.

I am polite and friendly to all the spouse that I meet, and have many acquaintances and casual friendships with women married to men of all ranks. But I am closer to the women whose husbands my husband is comfortable with, and often that is a result of rank.

What is your take on “wearing his rank?” Do you know women who do it? Is it always wrong?


4 thoughts on “Wearing his Rank

  1. Your situation is fine to me. Y’all are just watching your back it makes since. Its when women make you feel like your nothing just because your hubby is lower ranked then theirs.

  2. We follow the same concept of fraternization that your husband does. And I’ve definitely lost friends when I’ve had to explain that we can’t accept couples invitations. Some of them have felt we’re only turning them down due to thinking we’re better than they are, but most, like you, want friends who they can do couple things with.

    I don’t know that I consider it wearing his rank though, so much as keeping him out of trouble. The rank wearing, in my experience, is women who feel entitled due to their husband’s rank or who look down on others who aren’t of the same or similar rank. To be fair, I also feel the same way about women who lord their experience (with deployments, etc) over the less experienced. We all bring something to the table, regardless of rank, experience, or what have you.

  3. I agree that my closest bonds have always been with spouses whose husband’s were a similar rank. I would never not be somebody’s friend because of their husband’s rank, but the ones who I am closest to are the couples we can invite over for game night and double date with. On the opposite side of the coin, I really dislike being pigeon-holed by my husband’s rank. I feel like people automatically assume I am less intelligent/well-traveled/accomplished etc. when they find out I am an lowish ranking enlisted wife.

    • Same here! My husband is enlisted as well (mid-rank), and people are always surprised to find out that I have a masters degree lol. I guess most enlisted wives are uneducated and not accomplished?

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