made among marriageable 20-year-old women in twelve cities disclosed that their ideal husband prototypes were movie stars. This shows an unrealistic, childish attitude toward marriage, which explains the high divorce rate in the United States. It shows a need to face reality as far as marriage is concerned. Consider your prospective partner not through the superficial, unrealistic eyes of Hollywood, but through the eyes of God’s infallible Word. A woman should consider her companion in the terms of what she wants: a husband, provider, father; a man properly wants a wife, cook, housekeeper and a mother for his children. Before marrying, one should have sense enough to know that the marriage contract is for life. “A wife is bound during all the time her husband is alive.”—1 Cor. 7:39.
SINGLENESS FOR WHOM?
17. Why is singleness especially appropriate to consider at this time, and what reason does Paul advance for choosing singleness?
17 Standing now at the threshold of Jehovah’s new world, many youths may want to postpone marriage until after Armageddon, when selection of a wife will be made under righteous conditions and when marriage responsibilities will be carried out with none of the distractions that now plague mankind. Wise King Solomon advised youths: “Remember, now, your grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come.” (Eccl. 12:1) With the rapid approach of Armageddon, youths of the New World society should want to seize hold of the grand privilege that is theirs, that is, to give their all for the sake of the Kingdom, thus safeguarding their position at this time of the end. The single state offers greater freedom and fewer distractions, as the apostle said: “The single man is anxious for the things of the Lord, how he may gain the Lord’s approval. But the married man is anxious for the things of the world, how he may gain the approval of his wife, and he is divided. Further, the single woman, and the virgin, is anxious for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in her body and in her spirit. However, the married woman is anxious for the things of the world, how she may gain the approval of her husband. But this I am saying for your personal advantage, not that I may cast a noose upon you, but to move you to that which is becoming and that which means constant attendance upon the Lord without distraction.” (1 Cor. 7:32-35) So for a more undistracted life, Paul encouraged singleness, not marriage.
18. When should a single person seriously consider marriage?
18 Singleness is a gift bestowed on some as a reward for the victory of the spirit over the flesh. Often it is a solitary life, but a joyous one. A single person may be lonely but free. His life, which is not so weighted down with common material considerations, can soar the higher. However, whether one lives a married or a single life, the life he leads must be clean. If a single person should find himself distracted, that is, hard pressed because of passion, rather than for him to be constantly tempted with fornication or other abuses, it would be wiser for him to seek a mate and marry. Marriage is honorable in God’s sight; fornication is not. Those, however, who are able to make room for singleness should. Paul says such ones “do better” than those who marry.—1 Cor. 7:38; Matt. 19:12.
19, 20. (a) What problem faces many single Christian women today, and how should they view this matter? (b) With Armageddon so near at hand, what should all Christians want to be, and why?
19 There are many dedicated Christian girls who would like to marry this side of Armageddon, but there appears to be a scarcity of good, clean eligible mates. What should these do? Should they reach out beyond the congregation of God to get themselves a companion not dedicated to the doing of Jehovah’s will? Some have done so to their sorrow. The Scriptural injunction is: Marry “only in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:39) True, the single state may impose a great test of faith on many, but enduring trials for righteousness’ sake brings God’s blessing. One who seeks the company of outsiders may end up marrying out of the truth. Trials arising out of such mixed marriages come as a result of ignoring God’s counsel. Such trials often cause some to become spiritually sick and leave the truth; thus they lose out on life. Peter stated: “It is better to suffer because you are doing good, if the will of God wishes it, than because you are doing evil.” (1 Pet. 3:17) Endure under trial; a blessing from Jehovah awaits you.
20 With Armageddon so close at hand, with the new world of promise within reach, “keep yourselves clean, you who are carrying the utensils of Jehovah,” so that he may preserve you alive on into his new world of promise, for you to serve him there forevermore in righteousness. May that be your happy lot.—Isa. 52:11.
The Thought Behind the Proverb
A PROVERB is said to be “a large amount of wisdom wrapped in the fewest possible words.” The Hebrew word for proverbs, Meshalím, means a comparison. It includes more than is embraced by the English word, which we understand to mean a pithy sentence expressing in a few words a well-known or obvious truth.
A proverb may be likened to a kernel of corn, which, though a small thing in itself, has the potential to expand and increase until it can furnish food for millions. A proverb is also like a precious diamond, which, though tiny in size, may constitute a fortune. Even a child of little strength can conceal and carry a diamond around. But if the diamond’s value were in iron or some other baser metal, it would take the strength of many to transport it from place to place. So it is with proverbs that are precious with mental and moral wisdom; they are small enough to be carried about and retained by the weakest memory, yet priceless in their instructive value.
In ancient times when books were few it was natural that observations on life and manners should be compressed into the fewest words possible and committed to memory. People carried these sayings about and quoted them from time to time as safeguards. The very purpose of the Bible book of Proverbs is stated in these words: “For one to know wisdom and discipline, to discern the sayings of understanding, to receive the discipline that gives insight, righteousness and judgment and uprightness, to give to the inexperienced ones shrewdness, to a young man knowledge and thinking ability.”—Prov. 1:1-3.
Many proverbs were born of stored-up experiences and observations, not of just one wise man, but of many. Therefore, Lord Russell’s epigram describes a proverb as “the wisdom of many and the wit of one.” Some proverbs owe their origin to common situations in the everyday life of the times, knowledge of which is necessary to make clear how the proverb came into existence and how it is to be understood and applied. To make clear the fundamental, practical value of the wisdom embodied in the Proverbs, note a few of them and the lessons they teach.