Couples and cultures differ. But experts on marriage warn that, in general, romantic love lasts only for about a year. As the relationship continues, partners need to make sure they can still live together happily. In other words, they need to be compatible.

But how do you know if you are compatible with someone? Like in a job interview, you need to ask questions.

What kind of debt do you have?

A 2018 poll by the Pew Research Center found that money is one of the top five things couples fight about. Before tying the knot – another way of saying “getting married” – you should talk to your partner about any money each of you owes – such as student loans, house or car payments.

What are your spending habits?

Some people are good at saving money. They take comfort in having extra in the bank. Others are good at spending money. Shopping, for them, can bring comfort. If you and your partner spend money differently it could lead to conflict. Now is a good time to talk about savings, budgets and how you will handle your finances together.

How do you feel about a clean house?

Cleaning up around the house may not seem like a big deal. However, the same poll noted earlier found that 62 percent of all Americans said sharing household duties is important to a successful marriage. How will you and your partner divide them?

How do you feel about clutter?

For some people, living in a house with things everywhere can be very stressful. Other people have a hard time throwing anything away. It is important to know how you and your partner will deal with the everyday stuff of life.

How much time do you spend on social media or other technology?

Some people can spend hours on Facebook or playing video games. Other people hate using their time in such a way. Maybe they like to go hiking or play an instrument for hours instead.

So, at the heart of this question is this simpler but all-important one: “How do you like to spend your time?” Couples who share the same interests -- whatever they may be -- are more likely to succeed at being married.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

Compatible /kəmˈpatɪb(ə)l/ -  (of two people) able to have a harmonious relationship; well suited.

  • It's a pity we're not compatible.

owe /əʊ/ - Have an obligation to pay or repay (something, especially money) in return for something received.

  • They have denied they owe money to the company.

handle /ˈhand(ə)l/ - Cope or deal with (someone or something)

  • I don't think I could handle it if they turned me down.

clutter /ˈklʌtə/ - A collection of things lying about in an untidy state.

  • The attic is full of clutter.

Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.

1. How long does romantic love last, according to experts?

2. How many Americans believe that sharing household duties is important for a good marriage?

3. Why is sharing the same interests with your partner important?


Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

compatible, owe, handle, clutter


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

1. Do you agree that these are important questions to ask before you marry someone?

2. What other questions would you add to this list?

3. What is important for a succesful relationship or marriage?

4. If your friend was getting married soon, what advice would you give him/her?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by VOA.