Being the wife of a member of the military can sometimes feel like a full-time job. With 18-month deployments and countless sessions of out-of-state schooling and Tours of Duty, you are often the sole parent in the household. Maintaining your family and supporting your husband is a challenge that requires many years of practice; however, an unspoken yet understood etiquette exists among wives that can help you along the way.
One of the most controversial subjects among wives is rank. The best thing to remember is that your husband's rank is his and not yours. He earned his rank, you did not. In the same respect the army does not mandate the activities of wives. There are many myths about wives of higher-ranking soldiers, or Marines not being allowed to associate with wives of subordinates. This is not true. Wives can associate with whomever they wish. Soldiers and Marines should not be socializing with their subordinates, so don’t expect to participate in couples activities if you are friends with a lower-ranking soldier’s wife.
There are many opportunities to socialize with other families in your husband's platoon, such as Hail and Farewell Parties, Rank Ceremonies and Holiday events. You should not feel obligated to attend such events if you are uncomfortable. During a time of deployment, however, you will want to be as involved as possible with your FRG (Family Readiness Group.) The FRG is an established requirement by the military to organize the families of deployed soldiers or Marines during deployments. This group has a designated leader, usually the wife of the Commander or Senior-Enlisted member, who coordinates activities, passes on relevant information and assists families who need help or information. During a deployment, you should attend FRG meetings and events, and make yourself available for newer wives and fundraising events.
One of the main roles of a military wife is to handle life at home while her husband is away for a long period of time. For this reason, wives should make themselves aware of all financial dealings within the household. Always make sure you have a General Power of Attorney for your husband while he is away so that you have the authority to act on his behalf on all legal matters. A well-informed wife is a valuable asset to her soldier or Marine.
Finally, you must be discreet about any information you are given regarding any military matter, be it official or personal. Wives are often given deployment dates and locations and even information on missions. This type of data should never be repeated to any other person, under any circumstances. This involves developing a way to communicate with your family and your husband's family without hurting feelings or revealing any information. Make all of these people aware in person that you cannot share information with them. You should also keep from discussing such matters with other wives. You don’t know what their husband has chosen to tell them already. You don’t want to risk getting your husband in trouble for telling you something others do not know.
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