I recommend the Ruger MKII or MKIII as a first gun semi-auto gun. Great gun and cheap (still cheap if you can find it) ammo. Its easy to shoot, feels like a 1911 in the hand and is very accurate so its easy to see when the bad shooting is your fault.
Definitely get training for both you and your wife. I'd suggest getting two pistols (his and hers) and taking a course together. That's what my wife and I do now to improve our shooting. It'll be a good way to learn AND bond with your wife.
We're looking at our finances and trying to see if we could set aside money for a week long vacation to Gunsite Academy as a couple next year.
This is who we are, what we do.