It is being debated elsewhere on the Jblogosphere whether we are better off now with the current Shidduch system, or if there is a better way.
In the not so distant past, most Orthodox weddings sported mixed seating. The marriages produced at those events seem to have lasted much longer than current "arrangements".
Putting aside the fact that it was stigmatic to separate years ago, the marriages of yesteryear seem much more solid than those of today. This may be due to the fact that our generation is more self centered, or a myriad of other reasons.
Yet there is the story of one Chassidic fellow who went to his brother, the Rebbe, when his daughter came of age, for a suitable candidate. “Go to a Shadchan” was the reply.
I recently came across a very interesting insight by one *Miami Rabbi that in the Torah we see various methods of courtship. Avraham and Sorah knew each other from childhood (the girl next door). Yitzchok and Rivka had an arranged marriage, and Yaakov and Rochel was love at first sight. Yet all these marriages flourished. So it seems that all methods are appropriate, given the various circumstances.
*Even Yaakov and Leah’s marriage bore fruit, proving that one can be tricked into marriage with successful results!
*Ideas expressed by asterisk are not my own, but are not being named since they were seen on a private mail list. Also, as noted on a previous post, the idea of saying over something "בשם אמרו" is not so much as to give credit to the originator, but rather not to take the credit for yourself.