Why I Would Never Join the Military

I’ve always said I would never join the military. Nope. You’d never find me wearing my long hair in a bun, donning camouflage and lacing up combat boots. My husband is the servicemember, I am the military spouse. That arrangement suits me just fine.

Years ago, when I was stalled at a fork in my career path, my husband tried to convince me to become a Reservist. I laughed. Not because I didn’t respect the brave men and women who choose to serve our country. No, I laughed because the suggestion conjured an image of my rebellious alter ego manifesting itself as Goldie Hawn a la “Private Benjamin” who constantly has to drop and bust out more push-ups as punishment for not doing as she was told.

I don’t have the discipline. I don’t like people telling me what to do. I wouldn’t want to be separated from my family. I don’t know how we could manage as a dual-military couple. Camouflage isn’t one of my signature colors. Those are the excuses I always gave my husband whenever he brought it up. Those are the excuses I told myself whenever I actually gave the suggestion more than 90 seconds of consideration.

Although I never took the military route seriously, every now and then I come across a story that makes me think that just maybe special circumstances could have presented themselves that would have inspired me to become a servicemember. The other day I stumbled upon this story of an Army widow who decided to join the Army herself as a way to honor her husband. As I watched the 2-minute video clip, I went from feeling sorry for this young woman to applauding her courage as she sought to make her soldier “my brother-in-arms as well as my husband.”

This woman found her calling to serve. My husband found his calling to serve. Most of the military men and women I’ve met, at some point in their lives, found a calling to serve. I never had that calling.

But sometimes I think I might have enjoyed being a servicemember. The military might have given me a boost in self-confidence and assertiveness at a time in my life when I was in low supply of both. The structure of the military might have been a positive attribute rather than something to rebel against. I would have thrived on the athletic side of the military. And I have to admit, I kind of like shooting guns.

I guess in the end I was called to serve in a different capacity. I may not wear a uniform, but I’d like to think I serve by supporting the person in our house who does.

Have you ever thought about joining the military?

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