Tough question to answer as budget and money are very personal things. One thing to ask yourself though is will the extra 12k get you more time actually using the boat, if the wife enjoys it more? I know this would be true for many people and if so, and the budget can take it, it might be worth the cost. For me it wouldn't at this point, because my budget couldn't handle it!
Agree. If the Admiral is unhappy, the Captain is going to have a bad day!
What is your approx. purchase budget??
Once you have a realistic budget, there are many good choices in your prospective size range. I have a friend with a lovely Tartan 37 (CB). The interior seems a bit "small" for me, but it has far more storage than our boat.
FWIW, there is a sistership for sale as of last week, up in Olympia, WA. We have a full-on cruising interior that seems to wow every gal that visits. Trucking cost might put it out of bounds, budget wise, for you.
When we bought the Olson, in '94, the Admiral wanted the interior accomodation, and I wanted speed and ease of handling. She loves to drive it with the rail down in 20 kts...
Or, check out a mid-80's Ericson 34 or 35-3.
Lots of choices, but if you buy basic strong construction over "dock side condo" styling and quality, you will always be happier in the long run.