Courtship leading to marriage is a badly broken model.
In a fully developed parallel society of heart-led awareness, there would be no courtship. Marriages would be arranged by heart-led elders, the people who know the couple best. Granted, the arrangements might be based on a recognized existing attraction between the two, but the whole point is that such a society has a highly vested interest in making things work according to the biblical ideal of social stability. One marriage partner for life is a part of that ideal, so a good match is critical, as is a supportive community.
On the other hand, that same goal of social stability means teaching people how to shed the kind of self-worship and fantasizing that makes marriages so shaky. A biblical society is based on acknowledging the Fall and universal culpability. Biblical Law presumes the need to mitigate the Curse of the Fall. A part of that curse is what makes us demand things we simply cannot have in this life. Redemption teaches us to live with our own imperfections, too, so we don’t take ourselves and our fantasies too seriously.
This brings us back to the premise that the work of redemption has one goal in this world: Promoting fellowship and communion among broken humans. The miracle of faith is that we can genuinely love and relate to people for which there is no earthly reason to even associate with them. This is a lost thread of redemption in modern churches. You can find ecclesiology books that assume a church should be internally divided into various social groupings that reflect the wider society, with no intention of breaking down those barriers.
This is why we have youth programs, elderly programs, and married-with-children programs, and singles programs. If a household is divided, it cannot stand against the wiles of the Devil. This is by far the single biggest failure of Western Christian religion. Only in Western culture is there such a focus on keeping generations divided from each other. Only in Western society are you taught to prefer the company of age peers, as if no one else should be able to understand you.
And so we have this strange mythology of age-peer marriage, as if the biblical standard of men marrying younger women was somehow dirty. Courtship across generations that way is painted as icky and immoral, yet the age disparity is a founding element in the kind of relaxed patriarchy that God requires for redemption. Without the proper social setting, Biblical Law cannot work so well as God intended.
Thus, we are left today with a society where people choose their own age peers for marriage and it’s altogether rare that a woman will respect her husband as God intended. The proper basis for marriage is her awe of him, and his treasuring of her, not sexual attraction arising from a sense of peerage. We can still make it work, but it’s a broken model. Guys are supposed to be attracted to younger gals, and vice versa.
The whole business of generational peering is defiance of God. It creates an underlying expectation of hostility between generations that trashes the wisdom of experience in life. It creates whole generations with their characteristic flaws, because they are kept in a closed loop that amplifies every small difference in historical experience. There is nothing that builds a stability of culture and no sense of multi-generational devotion to any particular intellectual culture, much less a heart-led one.
So what can we do? How do we fight the smothering influence of our ambient civilization, a civilization custom made to please Satan? It takes a miracle from God. But miracles are brought into our lives by faith, by commitment to God and trust in His power and promises. If we commit ourselves to exposing Biblical Law and all its assumptions, we can depend on the Father to use us to establish something fresh that brings us back toward Eden.
But that requires from us an acknowledgment that this is included in the package of redemption. At a minimum, we must recognize how the ambient culture conflicts with Biblical Law and awaken that awareness. We cannot pretend that serving Christ means reforming the ambient culture; it means radically replacing it. If we can awaken this doctrine of the Bible and keep it alive, God will draw to it those whom He intends to use to build what He intended. It will be a courtship of hearts to the truth.
If all of Creation groans with longing to see genuine faithfulness to God revealed in human existence, then we should be longing for it, too.