One of the most important things to consider is how your wife will respond to sailing. Some spouses love it, some can be terrified by the boat heeling etc. so if you make a huge investment on a blue water boat and it turns out she doesn't like the life style that can be a big problem.
I agree with Tager, get a small, simple exciting one design like a Laser first. This way you can both explore sailing, get your sailing chops down on a fun, fast, super simple boat that you can trailer and have limited financial exposure.
That's what we did, she loved sailing (Yes!) and then we moved up to the Catalina 25 the next year. (We still have the Escape Captiva for beach runs) Still not a blue water boat but it's a nice pocket cruiser that's very capable to do some over night anchors etc. A boat like this is not too expensive or too much to handle and helps you get a better idea of the skill level, work and maintenance involved with sailing a keel boat. The good news is that if you take care of the boat and put some money in it you won't take a loss when it's time to upgrade and get that big blue water boat.
The reason I selected the Catalina was that she's stable, easy to sail, has a lot of room down below for a small boat and is fairly simple to maintain. As for age, mine is a 1979 and was super well maintained. Even though I did a ton of sailing as a kid/teenager I had about 25 years of non sailing and I think anything bigger would have been a bit intimidating to get back into things.
1979 TR/FK #1390
Lake Ray Hubbard
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