Welcome aboard TF.
Boat Search 101 is a good place to start reading
Good luck with the search and subsequent adventures.
Best advice getting started is to think about and write down your anticipated cruising style, musts, wants and don't wants. Have mate do the same separately them compare, combine & compromise (just do it her way!?) Seriously listen to her inputs and resist simply overruling.
Make the search fun vs a chore... walk marinas, docks and talk to anyone with a boat even similar to what you are thinking about. Pose the above questions, how do they use it, like most, least, would change if doing it over? Make inspection trips mini vacations, do some sightseeing,, etc.
If there is an Americas Boating Club Chapter (AKA US Sail & Power Squadrons) near by join and take a boating course. Its a great way to expand your network of folks with similar interests.