Washington: Tiffs with your spouse stay at the same levels -- for your entire marriage.
That may be good news for the 16 percent couples who get by more harmoniously or the 60 percent who have only moderate levels of conflict, according to a study.
But it`s not such happy news for the 22 percent of couples who say they fight and argue with each other most of the time.
The study followed nearly 1,000 couples over 20 years, from 1980 to 2000.
"There wasn`t much change in conflict over time," said Claire Kamp Dush, assistant professor of human development, Ohio State University, who led the study with Miles Taylor of Florida State University.
"There was a very slight decrease in the amount of conflict reported in the final years of the study, which was slightly larger for the high-conflict couples. Still, the differences over time were small," said Dush, the Journal of Family Issues reports.
The phone surveys started with 2,033 married people 55 years of age and younger in 1980, when the study began. Many of the same people were interviewed five more times through 2000, according to an Ohio State university statement.
Based on these results, Dush and Taylor separated the respondents into high, middle and low conflict marriages. The researchers found that people in low-conflict marriages were more likely than others to say they shared decision-making with their spouses.
"It may be that if both spouses have a say in decision-making, they are more satisfied with their relationship and are less likely to fight," Dush said.
"People who believe marriage should last forever may also believe that fighting is just not worth it. They may be more likely to just let disagreements go," she added.