She probably thinks she’s hot stuff, marrying a little higher up. Why is she in charge of caring for the company wives? She has no idea what it’s like. This is her first deployment, for pete’s sake!
Two things. There were TWO things I knew about this wife: she was newly married and her husband was an officer who had been in for almost 20 years.
Before even meeting her, I made the assumption that she was snotty and was going to lord her new position over us.
Honestly, it was not like me to think things like this. I was usually the one who would reach out to new military wives and see what I could do to help. I was even a FRO’s assistant before having our last three children! It was something I loved doing! I loved helping the new wives.
So, why was I thinking this way?
I’d like to blame it on pre-deployment stress, but in all honesty I think I felt threatened, for some stupid reason. Threatened by what? Who knows? I let my human nature take over and allowed my mind to make egregious assumptions.
Then, I met her.
I wanted to take every preconceived thought I had of her and shove them deep down my own throat, even though I hadn’t spoken them. I felt humbled and ashamed.
She was one of the sweetest, most transparent people I had ever met. I instantly wanted to be friends with her, and the guilt of my assumptions rotted deep in my stomach. I never told her about the preconceived notions I had of her, but I think she knew what everyone was thinking. Yet, instead of putting up a wall to defend herself, she opened her heart and caused every one of us wives to love her.
After meeting her, it didn’t matter if she was newly married to a seasoned Marine. We loved her!
But, it shouldn’t take meeting her for those thoughts to be warded off. New military wives need to be given a chance before they enter our lives. Granted, there are some wives who do lord their positions over others, and it’s frustrating. But, everyone deserves a first chance before an assumption is made.
Don’t forget that you used to be a newbie once too.
All too often, we forget that we were once in their shoes. Maybe you started “at the bottom of the totem pole” with your husband at boot camp or maybe you met your husband after he had already begun his military career. No matter when you started, you were once a newbie too and you were learning to wade the waters, hoping for someone to reach out and teach you the ropes. The last thing you needed was for someone to make preconceived negative notions about who you were before ever meeting you.
She already thinks you don’t like her. Don’t make it true.
A lot of new military wives come into this life with their shields up. They know that military women have two facets: super nice or incredibly nasty. (Even though this is true in the civilian world, it can be more apparent in military life.) The new wives are trying desperately to learn the ropes without negativity. Don’t become that one person that makes them have a tainted view of military wife life. Reach out to her and be loving.
She really really wants a friend.
In all honesty, she just really wants a friend. The military life is confusing and overwhelming. On top of that, there is enough difference between the branches that a Marine wife might not be able to adequately help an Army wife. So, even wives whose husbands changed branches feel less confident than they did before. Just like you have to start over and put yourself out there to make friends when you go through a PCS, this new military wife has to put herself out there as well.
But, she does it with hesitancy. She has the fear of being burned. On top of it, she has the extra struggle of trying to understand the military life and everything that goes with it. Don’t roll your eyes when she says something that she doesn’t understand. Remember, you were in her shoes once too.
I’ll never forget the first few years as a military wife. It was lonely and exhausting. I cried a lot. It didn’t help that we lived in an apartment complex out in the middle of nowhere and had only one car to share. But, I would have LOVED if someone had reached out to me and taken me under her wing.
Be that friend. Don’t judge. Just help.
She desperately wants a friend.
You do not wear your husband’s rank and neither does she.
Maybe you’re a Gunny’s wife and she is a PFC’s wife. SO WHAT! That does not excuse you from being friendly and nice. Though you may have been with your husband as he moved up the ranks, you did not earn your husband’s rank. It would be like my husband taking credit for all of the hard work and writing I’ve done on this blog for the past six years.
I can’t take credit for the hard work my husband has done to move up the ranks. Yes, I have supported him and worked tirelessly at home. But, in the same sense, my husband has supported me endlessly with my blog and has helped out by taking the kids for a few hours while I write and what-not. Yet, he would never take complete credit for the success of the blog, nor will I take credit for his success as a Marine.
When we take off the husband rank glasses and put on our friendship filter, we find another wife, another person. Be her friend or at least be nice!
She might be able to teach you something.
Though this friend has no children, she was a school teacher for many years. At the beginning of the deployment, I was having some struggles with my children listening and obeying. She listened to my concern and offered some ideas and perspective that I wouldn’t have really thought about, because I was never a school teacher. She brought something to the table that was really beneficial to my family and me.
She could end up becoming one of your best friends.
This became true for me. Though we aren’t best friends, per-say, that wife and I are now very close friends! She and I have had many deep discussions, and she is one that I have always felt safe to talk to about almost anything.
So, whether you’re kind of a new military wife yourself or a seasoned military wife, set the assumptions aside and put forth a hand of friendship. You never know who will be waiting on the other side. She just might end up surprising your socks off.