A Smith and Wesson Model 10 in 38 Special would be a good choice. It's a basic no frills revolver that has proven itself over and over again. With quality ammunition it is more than capable of protecting you and your wife. I'm in my twenties and that's what I use most of the time even though I have many others to choose from.
The other handgun that has caught my interest lately that you may like is the Glock 19. It is extremely easy and simple to operate and 9mm seems pretty tame in this gun. Ergonomically it is perfect for my medium sized but strong hands. it may be worth looking into.
Another suggestion might be a Ruger SP101. If you get the three inch barrel version and load it with quality 38 specials you would be in good shape indeed. I've never fired one but I imagine recoil would be pretty tame in that platform.