The couple must share the dream...
"Now I just have to convince my love that we don't need 38' with AC and refrigeration...
Michael wants the minimal "go simple, go small" boat. While that style of cruising can be fun, economical, and fulfilling, it sounds like too many cruises that end early when one member of a couple has one dream and the other member a diffeent one.
We've been cruising for five years now and we do see a few of the really primitive cruisers, and we see a few of the must have every accesory known to man cruisers. But most of us fit in the middle somewhere.
Having a watermaker can go a long way to improving life on a small boat. Being able to wash the salt off each day, wash dishes, or even waste a little now and then eases a strain that many couples find hard to live with over the long term. It is one thing to "camp out" on your boat for a month or so, and quite another to do it year in and year out.
Having power to run bright reading lights and a stereo makes those long dark night cozier. Sure you could use the classic oil lamp if you want to deal with finding and storing another fuel, trimming the wick, keeping the thing from getting broken, etc.
Michael needs to ask his wife what level of comfort (or discomfort?) she is willing to put up with long term. If she'd be happy living in a tent and cooking over an open fire, then go for that really simple bare boat. If she insists of air conditioning and hi-def beg screen TV then perhaps you need to find a different dream.
Relationships and cruising boats are both compromises. So seek a combination that both of you can live with. If you force her to adopt a vision she does not share you will end your cruise early or end up as yet another single hander.