although you can find plenty of silly posts between many of us here, when it gets down to it, if people are looking for credible advice from folks that have sailed in all sorts of conditions, on about every boat out there, this is the place.
i am going to side w/ the 28-30 foot crowd here. granted, i am partial to sabres (no secret there), and i think a 28' will give you a solid boat large enough to feel safe on, have enough space that said spousal unit might actually enjoy being aboard, yet still be comfortable to go off for a weekend.
i think a 22-25' boat can get "very small" quickly, for a novice sailor when the weather turns to worms.
after a couple of years learning the basics on a sabre 28...hey go for a hylas,hinckley or a swan...(and if we are talking a big inheritance might as well go whole hog).
as you hone your skills (we all continue to learn)..you'll buy a larger boat..develop bigger boat envy, want even a bigger boat..etc.
the next thing ya know..you'll be a moderator on here or have built a custom built 42' sloop.
the most important thing..., take some lessons and get out there and have fun.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest,second is by imitation, which is easiest,third is by experience, which is the bitterest.
Sanctuary, Sabre 30 mkIII