I suppose, as is so often the case, that if you are not attracted to a young man, but he is attracted to you, he is at once put out of court by the fact that men, when they are in love, invariably manage to look like a somewhat sick sheep. If a girl is attracted to such a man she feels flattered by this appearance, and does not hold it against him; if she has no interest she dismisses him from her mind. This is one of the great injustices of life. Women, when they fall in love, look ten times as good-looking as normally: their eyes sparkle, their cheeks are bright, their hair takes a special glow; their conversation becomes much wittier and more brilliant. (S. 175)
It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous, that you realise just how much you love them! Anyone can admire somebody for being handsome or amusing or charming, but that bubble is soon pricked when a trace of riducle comes in. I should give as my advice to any girl about to get married: ‚Well now, just imagine he had a terrible cold in his head, speaking through his nose all full of b’s and d’s, sneezing, eyes watering. What would you feel about him?‘ It’s a good test, really. What one needs to feel for a husband, I think, is the love that is tenderness, that comprises affection, that will take colds in the head and little mannerisms all in its stride. Passion one can take for granted.
But marriage means more than a lover – I take an old-fashioned view that respect is necessary. (S. 63)
You’ve got to hand it to Victorian women; they got their menfolk where they wanted them. They established their frailty, delicacy, sensibility – their constant need of being protected and cherished. Did they lead miserable, servile lives, downtrodden and oppressed? Such is not my recollection of them. All my grandmothers‘ friends seem to me in retrospect singularly resilient and almost invariably successful in getting their own way. They were tough, self-willed, and remarkably well-read and well-informed. […]
In one respect man was paramount. He was the Head of the House. A woman, when she married, accepted as her destiny his place in the world and his way of life. That seems to me sound sense and the foundation of happiness. If you can’t face your man’s way of life, don’t take that job – in other words, don’t marry that man. Here, say, is a wholesale draper; he is a Roman-Catholic; he prefers to live in a suburb; he plays golf and like to go for holidays to the sea side. That is what you are marrying. Make up your mind to it and like it. (S. 132)
aus: Agatha Christie: An Autobiography (1977)