despite the wide use of marital quality concept, it is identified a lack of variables conceptual clarity. this article presents an area literature review with the objective of mapping out the conjugal concept. seven theories about this subject were analysed: social exchange theory, behaviourist theory, attachment theory, crisis theory, simbolic interactionism theory, family systems theory, adaptation of vulnerability to stress model. it is possible to identify three groups of variables in the definition of conjugal quality: spouses personal resources, context in which the couple is inserted, adapting processes. hence, conjugal quality is the result of couple dynamic and interactive process, consequence of a multidimensional character.