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SelectList not saving the SelectOption

I have a selectList and have populated it from the Apex Controller. I have the list displaying correctly on the Visualforce page however when a user tries to select an option from the selectList and then save, it doesn't save the value. I also need the selectList to display the option that has been saved previously. How do I make sure that the field of an object gets set from the selectlist and how can i make the selectlist display the correct option depending on the field of the object?

When you say the value isn't saving do you mean the value isn't passing from the visualforce page to the controller..

Have you used the value attribute of apex:selectList and created a variable in the controller to capture that value from the visualfforce page to the controller

<apex:selectList value="{!countries}" multiselect="true">

Please share your code and also elaborate a bit on your issue so that we can  understand better