note There are better places to start than Wilson's Creek Gorge.
The upper, for one. One of the things that happen to people in this sport is they get hung up on progressing too quickly, get in over their heads, get scared, and quit. Think of Wilson's Creek Gorge as backcountry tree runs. Not something one days right out of the box. Take your time, try the Lower Nolichucky, Upper Wilson's Creek, the Watauga in Elizabethton, and some of the easier runs in the area and learn what you can do before you go somewhere that can hurt you, and, more especially, your wife. If you're trying to make this a shared activity with her, you're going to have to take her preferences in mind, and, typically, women are a little less aggro than men. That said, I've paddled with plenty of women who are better than me.
Take it easy, and you'll have more fun in the long run. You don't want to do this like a Texan on a ski hill.
FWIW, my wife and I started paddling whitewater seriously sometime around 1977, and we still paddle together occasionally, and even paddle canoes tandem without fussing at each other, althoufh figuring that one out took some time.
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YoungClayB