They didn’t. Dating was basically nonexistent. People did not choose a mate based on good looks or a good sense of humor. Fathers arranged the marriages based on genealogies, dowries, and family positions.
Most people today prefer the modern system of courtship, which allows the individual to choose a mate. While this system is more free, it is not perfect. The moral decline of the contemporary society has led to a high number of unwed mothers, increasing occurrences of sexually transmitted diseases, an alarming rate of sexual abuse and rampant divorce.
It is vital that, in choosing a partner to marry or to date, the Lord and His standards remain the final measuring tool in the decision-making process. Seek His will for your life and ask Him to guide you to the mate He has chosen for you.