The she I love is a beautiful, beautiful dream comes through I love her, love her, love her, love her, so will you! O she is a flower lovely and rare, And black as night is her raven hair, I love her, love her, love her, love her, what shall I do

Singer : Mohammad Rafi
Lyric : Harindra Nath Chattopadhyay
Music : Shanker Jaikishan

In case of the organisations like the Indian Armed forces, the wives of the combatants play a major role in their lives. Not at all similar to a Software engineer working for a big corporate brand, the work atmosphere of a combatant requires a lot of social interaction with his team. This social interaction depends a lot on the way the combatant’s better half behaves. It is very interesting to note how the same organisation which is famous for its rigid, stereotype norms of social interaction leaves a lot of space for the individual idiosyncrasies to creep in. And that’s where we get to see various types of the Combat Queens.

What drives the Combat Queens?

But before we try to understand or discuss this theory any further, we need to know about the major concerns governing a WOMAN’s life, in general and the combat queens in particular. I have broadly tried to classify them under three significant heads:

      1.      Primary: Concern for family

      2.     Secondary: Concern for social life

      3.     Obligatory/Optional: Concern for Husband’s career

If we put these three concerns together, we get 8 personality types of the Combat Queens depending on a combination of high and low concerns. This is something very similar to what has been also called as the Johari Window in man management. Let’s take a look at them and see how they all contribute to the husband’s effectiveness.

What are the popular types of the Combat Queens?

 1. Traditional: She has a high concern for family, low concern for social life and her husband’s career. She is invariably too good at cooking, sewing, painting and housekeeping. She can display her cooking skills at each party at home and even through the lunch boxes that the husband carries. But beyond this there is little of interest to her. So wherever you find a plump husband, you can expect to see the traditional wife following him.

2. Ritualistic: She is interested in family, not much interested in social life but highly interested in her husband’s career. Her way of helping her husband in his career is by observing some rituals, such as wishing everyone ‘good morning’, happy birthdays and Anniversaries. She would never forget to call you over for dinner or a get together when you newly join a company/department. She would attend all the social events that her husband expects her to do. But do not expect a personal touch in any of these. After few days together, everything in her life would seem to come out of a calendar full of rituals to be followed.

3. Social: She has a high concern for the family,social life but practically noconcern for her husband’s career. She will take care of the family while she also attends all parties. She enjoys the talk about the parties and people but the minute her husband starts talking about the office, his boss or colleagues at home she switches off. She has no interest in listening to his maladies at office. She can’t distinguish between the husband’s boss and his subordinates. All seem to be working in same department, that’s all.

4. Lady Macbeth: She has low concern for family or social life but very high concern towards her husband’s career. As the simile suggests, she would do anything to force her husband to be at the top. She keeps nagging the husband to perform better every time he attends a course, a seminar or even goes for a visit with a dignitary. As opposite to the Empty /Social wives, she would be all ready to listen to a full performance report from the husband, the minute he enters home after a long day at work. Even the boss can wait, but not Lady Macbeth. She needs to know each and everything happening in the office. And, the best part about her is she can keep a good track of all the things he has told her.

5. Social Climber: She has no concern for family but high concern for social life and her husband’s career. It is usually easy to find such ladies as they would be the ones with the senior-most ladies at all times. In a party, a social gathering or even the yoga classes, she will be the first one to make a beeline for the senior-most officer’s wife. She will then, go on to tell them now and then how sincere and hard-working her husband is and how much respectful he is towards the boss. While her children are left to look after themselves at parties, she would be looking for occasions to dance chit-chat and flatter the senior ladies.

6. Ideal: Although difficult to find, this variety of wives do exist in all types of organisations. In fact, whatever might be others’ perception all the wives feel they belong to this category. She has high concern for the family, social life and her husband’s career. She would not be very conspicuous in canvassing her husband’s good work, but subtly she would convey to the Boss’s wife her husband’s hard work and professionalism. She would always be there in all social gatherings without risking the needs of her house, husband and her children. A better manager than the husband, one would say.

7. Butterfly: She has a high concern for social life but very low concern for family and her husband’s career. She is hardly to be found at home. Sometimes, you may find her catching up with her husband at the parties. One may wonder how much partying she is capable of after looking at her Instagram and FB accounts as they are full of various parties with various people. The butterfly is normally not at home for the husband when he returns from office. In urban metro cities one may find these Butterflies which will be replaced by the Gossip Girls in smaller towns and organisations. The gossip girl is always busy spreading rumours or looking into others’ lives so much that she again is never available for her own husband.

8. Empty:Generally, this type of wife lacks all the three concerns in her life. She has no concern for the family, the social life or the husband’s career. She will generally be suffering from unique diseases that have just come to the town. You can expect her to give illness excuses at any occasion. She will have some other characteristics such as, she will an ardent animal/plant lover. She will care for her plants and or the pets: parrots, cats and dogs like her own family. She may sometimes carry the stray dogs, pigeons and so on from the streets and make them her family. What she is obviously trying to do is fill the void in her life with the pets/plants because her life is empty. Sometimes, you will find her too rigid about her religious choices. She needs the same ingredients in the same quantity as outlined by her Babaji or Swamiji if she has to conduct some religious ceremonies.

In actual life, one may not see such clear profiles of the Combat Queens but some mixtures of features of two or three types. Not all wives will take the extreme positions.

Effects of the Combat Queens on husband’s Leadership or Managerial Effectiveness

      1.     The empty wife: As soon as her husband comes home, he finds the wife in some or the other pain: either it is her body aching, or the pet teething or the Swamiji not well. So the husband practically looking for some psychological support finds that he is the one who has to give a lot of support always. So he starts looking for some relief in his jogging, gym or the Bar. So that the wife can rest. This is where the wife stops to be of any value to the husband in terms of psychological support and recreation.

     2.     The traditional wife: This one clearly thinks that the remedy to all problems lies in food. So, she starts the fasts or feasts whenever the husband talks about his worries or tensions at office. Instead of offering any solace to the husband, the added calories actually start a new problem: the OBESITY.

     3.     The gossip girl:  The butterfly or the gossip girl is always going around and spreading rumours about others. So even others start spreading rumours about her and her husband. So, the husband actually finds that instead of being a true companion to him, she is actually being an addition to his problems and worries.

     4.     The social wife/the ritualistic wife: In their case, the situation is somewhat better. They listen to their husbands patiently –but don’t register what all he says. They only listen and forget all about it the very next minute.

     5.    Lady Macbeth: She is anxious to listen to the husband’s stories but her very preparedness makes the husband too nervous about coming home.

     6.    The social climber: The wife does more damage than benefit to the husband. Even if he gets a promotion on the basis of merit and hard work, the general comment you hear is: “If I had a wife like that I would get a DOUBLE promotion.” She is generally the focus of common hatred and actually accentuates the problems of her husband than reducing them. Every other woman in the social network hates her.

     7.     The ideal wife: She is the best for her husband because she takes care of the family, the husband, his social life and once in a while manages to canvass subtly for his professional work.

Do the Husbands have any solutions for the Combat Queens?

In my opinion, everything actually depends on the Husbands as much as it does on the Combat Queens.

If the concern for family is low, the husband can improve it by coming back home in time so that the wife is not left alone all the time. If there are no children to look after or the nest has recently become empty, the wife can be persuaded to take up some other activity which keeps her in the company she likes. If there is no concern for social life then husband can identify the barriers and provide some more solutions. For instance, if language or the demeanour of the wife is a problem, it can be easily overcome with the help of efficient tutors or online classes. The husband can definitely invest some resources to see to it that the wife acquires the sufficient proficiency in the language and mannerisms prevalent in his social environment. When the husbands are young and the wives full of energy, they are interested in everything that’s happening around. But, if at this stage, the husband doesn’t have time to explain the details of his job or work profile, she finds her own means to do so, outside the house. Also, if the husband keeps saying again and again “You won’t understand a thing.” after some time, she will lose interest and then will find it very difficult to give any support to him. The wife’s inadequate contribution to her husband’s effectiveness can be largely attributed to the husband who does not take enough care to see that the concerns for family, social life or for his career are maintained at a sufficiently high level so that the Combat Queens can become a true dignified partner in his life.

She may be the face I can’t forget
The trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price I have to pay
She may be the song that summer sings
Maybe the chill that autumn brings
Maybe a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day She may be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a Heaven or a Hell
She may be the mirror of my dreams
A smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem
Inside her shell She, who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one’s allowed to see them when they cry
She may be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows in the past …

Elvis Costello



Sqn Ldr Vidula Abhyankar (Retd)

Sqn Ldr Vidula Abhyankar (Retd)

A short service commission Officer of Indian Air Force, Sqn Ldr Vidula has worked for last 17 years in the field of education, training and development of Air warriors and their families.

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