The interesting conundrum about ham radio is that, technically speaking, it is both a means of communication and a hobby. There are many facets to the hobby, and folks get into it for different reasons. Some want to use it as a tool for communication, some want to use it as a social media connection to other hams, some use it for emergency and disaster preparedness, some for contesting, some for experimentation and technological development, and others to simply learn more about radio in general.
I’ve met a lot of amateurs and aspiring amateurs in my business, and each has their own reason for getting into ham radio. As a licensed ham myself, I find it interesting how most hams seem to view the hobby from only one perspective as an absolute, when it is so much more.
For instance, when I first got into amateur radio, I encountered a group of hams who were into DXing. I had no interest in it, and frankly I saw contesting as about as productive a pastime as Pokemon Go, a fun game but merely a diversion, and in the case of DXing, a potentially expensive one at that. However, I also learned many hams consider it a skill for practical use in times of a national or international crisis, To them, that was what ham radio was all about.
Conversely, there are a dedicated group of hams who are strictly in the hobby for experimentation and to develop new technologies. Some of these are engineering types, and some of them are not very interested in social interaction with others. They just want to build and experiment. To them, that’s what ham radio is all about.
There are hams who use the hobby to participate in handling emergency communications and emergency weather preparedness. To them, that’s what ham radio is all about.
There are hams who use it strictly for educational or training purposes. There are hams who use it for basic communications in International Code. There are hams who use it to stay in touch with family members and friends in parts of the world where standard phone and internet communication is difficult, impractical or nearly impossible with government censorship or restrictions on other forms of communication.
The term “hobby” usually refers to a leisurely activity in a specific interest with specific parameters, such as biking, fishing or coin collecting. There are few hobbies as diverse as ham radio, in which there are subsets that take the hobbyist in numerous different directions. For this reason, I don’t think one has to defend oneself for wanting to obtain a ham license to use their own radio.
True, if all you want to do is communicate with family members on a camping trip, a GMRS license and a set of decent GMRS radios is probably a better way to go. However, it sounds to me like your interest in radios is something more, and even if your wife doesn’t want a social connection to other hams, there’s nothing wrong with both of you wanting to get amateur radio licenses to talk with each other.
My son and I did the same thing, and we did it because we wanted to share the experience together. It was a wholesome bonding experience and it was a lot more educational and productive than playing video games or sitting around the TV.
To me, that’s what ham radio is all about.