It could be that wives have more realistic expectations of marriage, while husbands had more idealistic expectations of wives.
Women are twice as likely as men to file for divorce, according to a US study which found that increased marital tension among wives predicted a split in marriage.
Researchers from University of Michigan in the US found that while wives and husbands marital tension increased over time, husbands tensions increased at a greater rate.
The study, published in the journal Developmental Psychology, also found increased tension among wives was particularly problematic for marital longevity when their husbands reported low levels of tension over time.
"The association with divorce was greater if men reported low levels of tension when women reported a higher accumulation of tension," said Kira Birditt, from University of Michigan.
"It could reflect a lack of investment in the relationship on the husbands part - they might believe it is unnecessary to change or adjust their behaviour.
Researchers used data from about 355 couple, half of which were white and half were black.
They were interviewed between the first four and nine months of their marriage and again in years two, four, seven and 16 of the project.
The team asked the husbands and wives about their irritation or resentment over the previous month and how frequently they felt tense from fighting, arguing or disagreeing with their spouses.
Researchers found that women were twice as likely as men to file for divorce. They also noted that women across the study reported higher levels of tension when they entered the marriage.
Husbands reported low levels of tension, but their tension increased more over the course of the marriage, researchers said.
"It could be that wives have more realistic expectations of marriage, while husbands had more idealistic expectations of wives," Birditt said.
"These findings are exciting because it is important to consider both people in the relationship," Birditt said.