Ok I had the similar problem of not knowing what gear I needed, but now understand a lttle bit more. First of if you want to do End Game you will need basic. But first you do Makeb and side missions, I did Makeb story and side quest from lvl 50 to 54. After you complete the story on Makeb go to Oriocon. Do the story missions there for General H, dont remember his name. After you do Oriocon u got yourself the lowest elder game tier gear, artifact. The basic comms you got on Makeb and Oriocon will give you enough for 1-3 pueces of Black Market gear, the next higher gear rating. From here you can continue doing Dailies on Makeb, Section X, Oriocon, and anything that gives basic comms. Once you have a full set of Black Market Gear you are good to go for HM LVL 55s FPs and Story Mode 55 OPs Scum and Villany and Toborro Courtyard are pretty good to start at. Thrse eill give you Elite comms which will get you Arkanian gear. This gear has a set bonus and is pretty good and gives you access to more harder OPS like the Dread Palace and Fortress. From there usually you do HM 55 OPs mentioned above. This will give you Verpine gear. Dread Forge gear is gained from Nightmare 55 OPs i think.
Below are gear names(from lowest to highest rating) and how to get them:
Blach Hole/ Hazmat - HM LVL 50 OPS and FP - Classic Comms
Artifact- Oriocon story missions
Black Market- section x, makeb, Story 55 FP, oriocon, cz 198 dailies - Basic Comms
Arkanian - HM 55 FPs, Story 55 OPs - Elite Comms
and so on.
To get basic gear is sorta of a grind because the FPs dont drop good gear so you are limited to dailies really. Once you get enough basic comms to buy Black Market you can do FPs and OPS that also have daily and weekly missions AND drop Arkanian gear that you can try to roll for.
Also everytime you upgrade gear u want to buy things like barrel mods, earpieces, implants, maybe even relics on the gtn until you start doing OPS which actually drop those. The most costly thing for u to buy on gtn would be the barrel mod which is 650 k average. But thats pretty easy to earn by doing dailies for a day or two. The jump from Artifact to Black Market was frustrating because of the lack of drops from ops.
Btw you have ti know how to play your class well especially if you are healer or tank when doing HM 55 FP. Search online for rotations for your class and maybe guides for FP and OPs.
If you have any questions I'm happy to help if I can. But I dont know anything muchabout past Arkanian gear.
I hope you enjoy the game with your wife and have the best of luck.