This study examines verbal aggression in the disputes of abusive couples. Verbal aggression is defined as both a predispositional trait and a relational pattern, so it is viewed within a system theory framework. Specifically, the study considers the relationship between verbal aggression and marital distress, the level of agreement between couples in reporting their verbally aggressive behavior, and the level and type of reciprocity in their verbal aggression. A sample of 82 couples representing violent, nonviolent distressed, and nondistressed relationships completed self-report instruments on verbal aggression and argumentativeness for themselves and their spouses and marital satisfactionfor themselves. Results show that abusive couples experience less marital satisfaction, less accurately recall each other's behavior, and have significant reciprocity in their verbal aggression compared to nonviolent distressed and nondistressed couples.