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I told my husband, “Let’s look into it” but I still wasn’t 100% on board with him joining the military.
It still scared the stuffing out of me.
It scared him too, mostly because the clock was ticking and he knew, at ripe old age of 30, that he was reaching the ceiling for joining the Navy.
The topic consumed our days and conversation. There were so many what ifs, caveats, and potential hurtles.
Finally, I told him. “You know what? They can’t say ‘No’ until you try. Just email the recruiter.”
So, he did.
The recruiter got back to him within 24 hours. Turns out having a 3.9 GPA in two Mathematics degrees puts you in high demand with the military.
Although Aaron was too old for most Navy positions, there was one he was particularly interested in pursuing that had a more lenient age limit: A Navy Nuke instructor.
In fact, going into Nuclear Engineering had been a dream of his since high school (we just took a long detour to get there…marriage, kids, going back to school later in life, you know…)
The Navy Nuke program seemed ideal: He wouldn’t be deployed; he would be able to teach; he loved the idea of delving into the science and math.
Plus the recruiter was very encouraging (as recruiters are paid to be…but still!).
The ball was rolling.
But I will still teetering on the edge of “All in.”
Yet when I saw how excited my husband was becoming, when I considered how burned out he was in his current job, when I thought about the dead ends we saw for the future (how do you save for retirement when you have 4 kids???), the more I edged from cold to lukewarm.
As the weeks went by, and we waited for a “yes” that would set our future into motion, I thought, “Maybe I can do this. Maybe I could be a Navy wife. It could be exciting, right?”
His dream was curling its way into my heart.
Then in late fall of 2014, we got the phone call:
Yes, he had an impressive 3.9 GPA in a highly desired STEM field.
The school he graduated from didn’t rank high enough on their list of top schools for the Navy Nuke Instructor program.
And that was it.
And do you know who felt crushed? Me.
My husband is a rock. His life motto is, “It is what it is” and he keeps moving forward.
But I had started to catch his dream, started to hope and believe and wish and pray that this was it.
But it wasn’t.
It’s always hard to get bad news, especially when the bottom drops out of all your potential plans.
But you can’t get a ‘no’ unless you try.
The Navy said no.
Now we knew.
We talked more about options: The recruiter actually said Aaron had been approved to be on a ship, but I couldn’t bend that far for the Navy dream. Being on a ship meant months away from our family on a regular basis: All my worst fears.
I said “no.”
And that meant Aaron said “no” too. He wasn’t going to pursue anything that we couldn’t both say “yes” to.
That’s the way dreams work in our marriage.
So we had to lay the Navy dream to rest and our long conversations about military life came to halt…
…for about 13 months.
To be continued…
How do you support your spouse’s dreams, even if they aren’t the dreams you would pick for yourself?
What do you do when a dream dies?
Share your story below!