12/20/2012 05:14 pm ET

Want To Be The Next Military Spouse Of The Year?

“Well, we’ve now obviously established that this wasn’t a beauty contest.”

That was my opening line as I peered out into an audience of Marines in their dress blues, as well as a flotilla of three- and four-star officers, all looking very serious in their sharply-pressed uniforms.

Not to mention tables and walls covered in the prettiest pinks and lavenders.

I had gone from being a submarine officer — qualified to drive the boat and start up the reactor — to being named the 2012 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year.