Someone had posted a question in another thread (I can't find it now) how to convince his wife that she should learn to shoot and/or carry.
I have a few suggestions from a woman's point of view . . .
1) Don't scare her with your gun. Don't handle it carelessly, don't make her think she'll have to use a beast like the one you carry, don't throw around technical terms or gun slang, and don't make shooting/carrying a "macho" thing.
2) Have her read the first chapter of Paxton Quigley's book, "Armed and Female" - you can get a used copy on Amazon.com. It will scare her to death. (We don't want her scared of guns - see #1 above - but we DO want her scared for her life.) I would also recommend the "Concealed Hangun Manual" (very compelling cover photo with a mother protecting her child!).
3) Let her know that you care for her safety. Let her know that if she gets hurt or killed, she'll leave you a widow and your children motherless. Play on her emotions a little. Sometimes we want to think that nothing's going to happen to us, but we forget what the impact would be on other family members. What if someone tried to hurt her when she was with the children/grandchildren? Wouldn't she want to protect them? Most assaults are over in seconds or just a few minutes - the police simply will not get there in time. Believe me, I know - I have a sister who was raped, and I was accosted at knifepoint in broad daylight on a busy street.
4) Let her know that shooting is an achievable skill, and it's something the two of you can do together. Let her know that she doesn't have to spend every waking hour at the gun range, just to practice occasionally once she gets comfortable with the gun.
5) Ask her to go to the gun range with you "just once, honey, for me." Then get organized and make sure you have everything you need for that day - ear protection, eye protection, demo or borrowed guns, target ammo, targets. Don't get sidetracked once you are at the range or shop - I know you could spend hours in there shooting the bull with the other guys, but you are on a mission. Stay focused.
6) See if your local gun shop/range has demo guns. Let her try out a gun that feels comfortable to her (most likely) smaller hand and weaker grip. Autos are intimidating to a first-time woman shooter. Start with a small-caliber revolver - maybe a .22, EVEN IF that would not be the self-defense gun she should pick. Just start with the .22 and let her shoot it until she's comfortable, then move her up to maybe a .32 or a .38 & let her try that.
7) Start with the target at a very "hittable" range - maybe 5 feet. There's nothing like success to spur you on! Don't worry if her form isn't absolutely correct at first. Let her pop a few before you start worrying about grip, stance, etc. The first time I ever shot, I really didn't want to. I thought guns were noisy, dirty, dangerous, and hard to handle. But a well-placed short-range shot with a little .22 got me so pumped up, I was hooked!
8) If you can get a demo gun or a borrowed gun with laser grips, do it! My S&W 642 Airweight is outfitted with Crimson Trace laser grips. What a confidence builder - not only for target but for self-defense confidence. I believe that it has really helped getting me in the right "zone" so that my shooting is better even when I don't use the lasers. Plus it is SO cool!
9) If you have competent people in the gun shop/range, let THEM instruct her in shooting and in choosing a weapon. If you must instruct her, don't be overly critical or abrupt. Be positive. She doesn't have to get everything right the first time out. Praise her effort and her results.
10) Make it fun! Take her out to lunch afterwards - make it a date. (Yes, I know you would rather stay at the range and shoot 20 boxes of ammo - sorry! Invest a little time now and it will pay off!!)
11) Don't ridicule her efforts or her choices. If she insists on carrying nothing bigger than a .22 for now, get it for her and let her shoot it for a while. You can always resell it or use it for target shooting when she reads enough about guns to realize her error. A .22 that she is comfortable using beats a .44 that she will never carry because she's scared of it. I personally don't recommend anything less than a .38, but she may need to move along a little more slowly.
12) Hook her up with this forum, and let her talk to other women here!! Subscribe to Concealed Carry Magazine so she can see other "regular" people from all walks of life who carry. If you have any friend's wives who shoot/carry, get the two of them together for some range time.
13) Personally, since I have started carrying, I feel much more relaxed. My fear is gone. I am still alert and aware of my surroundings, but I no longer get that skittish feeling when I have to walk through a deserted parking lot, drive through a rough area, or get on an elevator alone. I no longer get that adrenaline rush of fear when the dogs start barking late at night. I just calmly listen, review my plan in my head, and check to make sure my gun is in reach.
Hope this helps.