I am not sure, that I understand what you mean about 'the comforting lies are told to the young and they fail to prepare properly for the challenges of aging, the inequality of the impact of time on the relative sexual power of the sexes'
I think Kurt Vonnegut used the expression, "foma" (comforting and harmless lies). Lower entropy cultures or families are very skilled at selecting and incorporating just the right lies into their cultures to maximize entropy reduction.
for example, a family might adopt the foma that you don't need university to have a satisfying career, which is a harmless and comforting foma if the genetic potential is not there to handle university, however, this foma becomes damaging when repeated to the high IQ child of this family who should go to university.
To me it is a mistake to judge those times according to our standards. At the time of those marriages life values were not worse or horrible, but different. Human beings progressing very slowly, one step forward, two steps back. We are not better, than those people, and our society is not better either. We are society, and society is us. We have an industrial and technological progress, but we are not much humane, than those people centuries ago. We still have wars, children and women become slaves, men still believe that they are the top of the crop... We still have so much to learn, each of us, and sex, as a physical act, is not a real priority on this list. Lena
lots of great insight here. Maybe sex, and its travelling companion, infatuation, are catalysts that provide a temporary glue or "gravity" in a relationship permitting the couple to sort out if merging their lives makes practical sense, and to see if they form a deeper friendship that transcends the demands of sexual impulse.
This impulse to have sexual adventure and form emotional attachments does not go away, and flips to being a nuisance to be constrained, for those who embrace and see value in the marriage constraint.
One of the challenges, maybe the greatest challenge, is that the male R-complex intensifies this impulse to replicate its DNA in response to detecting environmental prosperity, power and happiness, which makes sense according to the Darwinian mechanism.
Ideally, to minimize entropy, the power of the HS to push back on this impulse is strong enough, sourced in the pleasure of giving love and respect, not only toward our spouse, but as well for any third party FWAUs that we are lured by.
Of course, a couple may as well choose to openly relax this constraint and maintain lower entropy by not letting sexual adventure affect the quality of their commitment to each other, on the level of pragmatism and friendship. Personally, I don't think it is worth the trouble, and I think overweights the importance of sex, and underweights the importance of marital friendship.