Welcome to a great site. I've been trolling this site for years and just recently joined myself. I've been hunting for the right boat now for several years and think I've come up with my dream boat a Nordhavn 47. I'm retired Navy also, so I can relate to the dream of your own Boat.
This group will give you a lot of sound advise and if you have the time, look through the different areas and don't be surprised if it overwhelms ya. But by all means, do the boat shows! It's a cheap date for the wife, and you can see a lot of different boats. You'll soon narrow it down to a few that you both can live with.
Another idea is look at chartering (Barefoot)a boat. I've done this many times and has helped me to find the good, and the not so good in things we want in a boat of our own.
Good luck in your hunt.