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What Army Wives gets wrong about real military wives

The show Army Wives has always received mixed reviews among those in the military community. While there are a lot of relatable topics on the show, there are a few differences that clearly set the characters apart from real military wives.

Army Wives cast

Community/class personification

One of the first things that I noticed about the show was how nice all the wives always seem to look — nice homes, nice cars, nice clothes. And of course, they are beautifully put together with flawless makeup and hair. In reality, the majority of the military community lives on a pretty meager salary giving us a fairly humble way of life. On a more personal note, I rarely look that good. I’m usually running out of the door in yoga pants, a light dash of powder on my face, and hair pulled back in a ponytail.


This is a tricky one. There’s no law against an enlisted wife being friends and hanging out with an officer’s wife. However, we know there are rules on what our spouses can and cannot do when it comes to hanging out with each other at different ranks. Not only from officer to enlisted, but even among lower ranking enlisted and higher ranking enlisted. The show makes it seem as though everyone in the military can just pal around with whoever they please. Unfortunately, this just isn’t so.

Duty stations and moving

Umm… does anyone else ever notice that they never move? When do they PCS (Permanent Change of Station)? Unless I’ve missed this happening in an episode, I have yet to see a set of characters move. In the 13 years I’ve been married to my husband we’ve been to five different duty stations. This brings out a few major realities about our lives that, without this, the show is missing out on. The difficulties in finding a new job every three to four years, and the emotional hardships of having to leave behind friends — and the work and drive it takes in keeping the bonds of those friendships tight — are a couple that quickly come to mind.

When Army Wives came out in 2007 I was vehemently against. it. I just knew everything about the military life and community was going to be skewed and wrong. I expected it to run much like a Real Housewives-type show that would be more of an embarrassment than anything. Turns out, Army Wives is nothing like that.

Army Wives is a TV drama, much like a few of my other favorite shows. Is Grey’s Anatomy anything like the real lives of doctors, nurses and trauma experts in a hospital or ER? No, it’s not. The same goes for Army Wives. It is definitely not real life, but they do write about and present topics that I can relate to. I also appreciate that the show brings to light a few other topics in the military community that the civilian population may not be as aware of, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Tell us

Do you watch Army Wives? What do you like or dislike about the show?

Image credit: Lifetime

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