You may have read or heard that a person born in the Year of the Rat should never marry someone born in the Year of the Horse, as the clash between these two animals will eventually lead to divorce. The rat-horse clash is one of six within the Chinese zodiac, the other five pairs being the ox-sheep, tiger-monkey, rabbit-rooster, dragon-dog and snake-pig. This phenomenon is employed in fung shui to determine suitable directions for individuals.
However, in astrology, writing off a relationship based simply on the years of birth does not take into account the overall picture. When Chinese astrologers analyse the characters of their clients and a prospective spouse or business partner, they also take into account the month, day and hour of birth. Instead of focusing on any particular animals, the consultant considers the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) present within the charts. For instance, the presence of fire may be extremely strong in a person's chart, and he or she will therefore need water to restore equilibrium. Partnering with another person who has considerable fire within their chart would not be a good thing to do, because conflicts may arise in the future.
Astrology is just a part of the picture and provides a guide towards the compatibility of individuals. Even if the elements within two charts are favourable, a lot of effort and understanding is required to make any long-term relationship work.