I had an earlier model of that AP (but the same basic unit as the newer one -- same size) on my former boat, a Pearson 27. Alas, I don't have a pic of it handy. Needless to say, it did not ruin the looks of the boat one bit and did not create a space problem in the cockpit. In fact, it was one of the best upgrades I ever made to the boat since I singlehanded most of the time -- which is exactly what your hubby will be doing while you are knitting or whatever.
Only other alternative I can see is for you to spend some time at the helm and learn what it's all about, and learn how to "play" with the sails as well. You might enjoy having control over the boat and making it go faster, and in the direction you want it to go (most of the time). It's also a safety factor should hubby one day not be able to do those things and you suddenly have a desire to get back to port. Can you operate the VHF radio
Yes, I am suggesting that you learn how to sail. And still buy the AP.