Some books and stories stay in print because they tell the reader something that remains true. They might narrate a moving, sad tale which leaves the reader deeply affected. Such is the power of the language. But they might also be a warning against mistakes we should avoid.
If you read "Wuthering Heights", you remember the character Catherine, who is in love with Heathcliff but decides that she can't marry him. The reason she gives is that, even though Heathcliff is her soul mate, who she loves and needs, she can't imagine taking him into the sort of polite society that she mixes with. Catherine belongs to a landed family, with a certain social station, and Heathcliff was a homeless orphan her father found in the streets and took in. She just can't imagine taking him to a social function of some sort - he would not fit in. So she marries someone 'more suitable' as the saying goes; and just finds that all ends in tears. If you know the story then you recall that it all ends in tragedy, with Catherine dying in some sort of despair and Heathcliff mourning her for years, wanting to reach out to her beyond the grave and eventually dying himself. It is a bleak, heart-wringing story and it probably remains a classic because it gets to people. But it also reveals the human folly of the lead characters. They deny the deeper, spiritual side of themselves to fit in with human society's prejudices.
Catherine is a sympathetic character but she made a bad mistake trying to be married to one man and still closely bonded to another. Heathcliff, also a flawed character, marries another woman to get even with Catherine and treats her with great cruelty; and mistreats his son also.
The story would not be what it is if they all lived happily ever after, but lives would not have been spoilt if the lead characters hadn't given in to their own bad ideas.
It still happens today. It happens because people still give way to the bad ideas invented by humans and don't look for higher spiritual guidance in leading their lives.
Not long ago I read an article in which a Christian single woman argues that it should be okay for Christians to have sexual relationships outside marriage. Her reason is, she can't find a husband. So she hopes to have some sort of intimate relationship without one. I prayed for that woman that she finds what she really needs in life, but I'm wondering quite what that is!
I don't know her at all, but could it be like this? She can't find a husband because of human, worldly prejudices about what a suitable man should be?
It happens to men as well. An old friend I saw at a reunion was still single though he does not want to be because he can't get past daydreams about willowy blondes. He wants to meet a woman who looks like Jerry Hall or something, and in real life he never does.
So where's this going? Dating and matchmaking agencies have become a huge industry in recent decades, because there are people everywhere who 'can't find anyone'. I don't believe that the God revealed in Jesus Christ would leave someone languishing in loneliness because He didn't care. More likely He has to get through to them, that if they want a partner they should leave that to Him. It would sound a bit cute to say it, but God is the best matchmaker in the universe and you don't have to pay for His services. The thing to remember is: God's idea of your right partner might not be what you have been expecting. If that is the problem, change your approach.
One of my sons recently married, and the odds of he and his wife meeting they way they did would be a billion to one. Yet it happened.
My wife and I met rather unexpectedly, on a blind date arranged by someone I hardly even knew. Over thirty years later, God's arrangement is still working out.
So there it is. Do people not find the chance to marry for a long time because they are blinded by a predispostion of mind that their ideal other has to look like some sort of a poster pin up? (Or centre fold!) If they do,then they're being very shallow; and it won't work out anyway. The message is the same as it has been since the Scripture were written. "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3, verse 6.)
A man might dream of Liz Hurley, or a woman of Hugh Grant, and spend their life on a silly shallow dream. And all the time God can set things to right if you undertake His direction and allow Him to. As well as that, we all need to remember what they say, even if it seems corny. Physical beauty is only skin deep. It does not show you the whole person. Hollywood has a bit to answer for, giving so many humans this tinny view of what people should be like. The real answer comes from an eternal source.