This study provides insight into descriptions of how conflict was experienced by twenty‐five couples who were married 40 years or more. They participated in a face‐to‐face interview regarding their experiences with conflict in the present and their recollections of conflict earlier in their marriage. Two major findings emerged. First, these couples tended to minimize the relevance of conflict in their present stage of life. Second, they reported that present‐day conflict patterns are considerably different from how they managed conflict earlier in their marriage. Two implications of these findings are discussed: Research on communication in later life couples in general needs to acknowledge the importance of life stages, and scholars of marital communication need to question the assumption that couples maintain stable conflict patterns over time.