couple separated

Rebuilding Your Marriage: 5 Things You Should Do While Separated

No person goes into a marriage thinking they will end up divorced or on its brink. According to research by Ohio State University, 80% of couples who decide to separate end up divorced. However, it doesn’t have to be the end. There are still ways to save your marriage and make it harmonious as you expected it to be when you got married.

There are some things you can do while separated that’ll help.

1. Stay In Touch

Being physically apart puts you at a disadvantage. You don’t know what the other person is thinking or feeling. That’s why you should keep a line of communication open. Separation is about keeping a distance from each other to reflect on your relationship, but spouses will become more distant with no communication.

staying in touch through phone calls

2. Reflect on the Problems & Conflicts

When you’re apart and not overrun with emotion, it’s easier to reflect on the past and see where the problems started. This also helps you realize what you could have done differently. Although this doesn’t change the past, it does stop you from making the same mistake in the future.

3. Make Your Desire for Reconciliation Known

When you speak to your spouse during the separation period, don’t just ask how they’re doing. Use it as an opportunity to let them know your desire for reconciliation. What you need to remember here is not to be pushy.

Give them time to get acclimated to the idea and have the patience to hear their answer. You can genuinely reconcile when you and your spouse are on the same page. But to reconcile, one of you will have to take the first step.

4. Go to Couples Counseling

You might have heard someone say that counseling isn’t effective because it didn’t work for them. However, the statistics don’t lie. As it’s currently done, Couples counseling is 75% percent effective.

When you’re trying to work on your marriage so you can rebuild it during separation, having a neutral third party helps you better understand your own and your partner’s emotions. You’ll identify issues in behavior and have a better grasp on what should be acceptable and what shouldn’t.

couple in marriage guidance counseling

5. Remember: Never Rush

There is no golden rule which specifies how long your separation should be. Rushing or being needy might make your partner hesitate in getting back together as they might feel pressured. You need to take it one step at a time

Relationship Counseling in Palo Alto

At Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling, the English and Farsi speaking therapist Azizeh Rezaiyan uses her 20 years of experience to help couples build healthier relationships and a better future together.

Azizeh, a trusted marriage counseling therapist in Palo Alto, has been helping hetero and same-sex couples find happiness in their marriage again for decades.

Contact us today to book an appointment for couples therapy in Palo Alto.

Depression and the Absence of Intimacy

Depression is not confined to the mind alone. It affects every single aspect of your lives. Prolonged depression takes its toll on your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. This sometimes leads to problems in personal relationships and the one that takes the worse hit is your relationship with your partner/spouse.

Depression can cause a perfectly healthy relationship between partners to go sour. This only adds further trouble in the lives of people going through a rough patch (depression in this case), because let’s face it – a strong relationship between partners/spouses is therapeutic. It is a source of love, comfort, support, and closeness.

When a person is depressed, they tend to become withdrawn. They feel lethargic and are often unable to find the energy or motivation to do even the most normal things in life – this includes sex too!

Loss of appetite, sleeplessness, loss of intimacy, mood swings, and inattentiveness are common in people with depression. Most of the times these acts make the other partner feel unloved and/or unwanted – this is where the problem begins – this is where relationships begin crumbling.

Depression and Intimacy

Depression tends to upset the routine systems and functions of your body, either slowing them down or displacing them. This impact is most vivid in the case of sleep. You might have noticed how a person with depression has trouble with sleep – either they sleep too less or too much – in each case, sleep is invariably disrupted.

Similar is the case with intimacy and sex. Having sex requires good co-ordination, spontaneity, and most importantly – it requires energy – lots and lots of energy. Unfortunately, people suffering from depression aren’t really up for things that require “too much effort”, which is why intimacy between couples is the first thing hit by adversity.

Depressed men experience a loss of libido and may even face problems with getting an erection. Women on the other hand, lose their interest in sex and have trouble reaching an orgasm.

The good thing is that these problems disappear when one starts improving their condition. As depression wears off, people may find their interest in sex renewed, which happens to be one of the first signs of recovery.

Through couples’ therapy, we at Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling can help you overcome depression and bring back intimacy to your relationship. After all, everyone deserves to be happy in life.

3 Elements of Trust: Marriage Advice for a Healthy and Fulfilling Relationship

An intimate relationship should be based on trust. In a healthy marriage, the couple makes the deliberate effort to cherish and adore each other on an ongoing basis. Each partner makes the other feel they are “the special one” by physical and verbal affection. However, for this dynamic of mutual cherishing and nurturing to be possible, the intimate relationship should be a sanctuary with trust and respect as its base and foundation.

There are 3 main types of roadblocks couples often face when trying to create long-term intimacy. Many couples have difficulties with these and seek marriage help/counseling and couples therapy when they find themselves having a hard time trusting each other despite good intentions.

  1. Reflexive Mistrust: If you often have a hard time trusting others, “mistrust” is a recurring theme in your life. Most likely, it has something to do with you and your life experiences. Mistrust could be a generational theme passed down from grandparents or parents, or ill treatment you may have received in your childhood. Our body and our mind remember the pain and the hurt. When in love, all these memories of other close relationships are triggered and it can strongly impact how you see and treat your partner.
  2. Healthy Judgment: In order to trust others we first need to have trust in our own ability to form a healthy sense of judgment. We need to be able to trust our gut and feel our inner body messages. To have a healthy sense of trust, we can’t just rely on our mind and our thoughts. We need both the inner and outer messages. We need both: gut and heart messages and our analytical mind that together, can accurately assess the facts and the realities we are in.
  3. Patience and Effort: Trust grows and therefore requires time to build. In order to trust we need to get to know one another in different settings and situations. We need time to observe not only our partner but also our own reactions and behavior related to our partner in various situations. It is vitally important that during times of conflict we approach our partner with the intention to resolve fights and misunderstandings instead of blaming, hurting, and finger pointing. It is important to see the positive intent of our partners despite their missteps and mistakes. You must keep in mind that no matter how hurt you may feel, your partner is worthy of trust rather than calling their integrity in question whenever you are upset.


Trust and intimacy are key for lasting, fulfilling relationships. The process of building trust requires frequent self-reflection, self-assessment, and nurturing in order to grow and sustain, and couples who put in the effort reap great rewards as the relationship grows and deepens.

‘Taking Care Of’ or ‘Caring For’ Your Partner? Why it Matters.

Marriage guidance, advice, and relationship tips from expert marriage therapist Azizeh Rezaiyan

In my couple’s therapy sessions, partners often talk about “taking care of each other.” They go on and on about all the ways they make special efforts to make their partner happy. Unfortunately, these couples are not alone in their confusion about the difference between taking care of their partner (caretaking) and caring for their partner.

The fact is, there are only two people whom we should take care of in life. One is our own self and the other is our minor child. Of course, there are times and exceptions when we must take care of our ill partner or old parents, but they remain exceptions. For the rest of the people in our lives our task instead is to remain caring. This conflation of caretaking and caring for is incredibly common, and it is very dangerous and damaging to relationships.

In marriage and relationship counseling, couples learn in depth about the difference between the act of caring and the act of caretaking. The topic deserves the extra time and attention; it is crucial to learn the difference. Not understanding it can mean one spouse’s genuine efforts to be kind and loving can be a source of marital discord. It’s an unfortunate fact that well-meaning attempts to show care can take the marriage into “needs to be saved” territory.

Here’s the critical difference between caretaking vs. caring for:

Caretaking: When we take care of our partner in an intimate relationship, the dynamic in the relationship becomes a parent-child one. This dynamic kills intimacy and sexual desire. Gradually, partners on the receiving end of caretaking feel controlled, inadequate, and slowly resentful. In addition, they receive the message that they are incapable of – or not smart enough to be – taking care of themselves. The partner also perceives they are not inherently lovable. They learn that in order to be loved, they must do things for the caretaking partner at the expense of their own well-being. This dynamic eventually makes the partner feel exhausted, taken advantage of, and angry that no matter what they do, nothing is good enough.

Caring for: When spouses engage instead in caring for each other, both partners perceive a sense of genuine kindness and reward of feeling fulfilled. Caring for without caretaking remains respectful to the boundaries of self and others. It is supportive but not intrusive. It enhances intimacy, bringing sensuality and love to the relationship which strengthens the bond between the couple.

If you or your partner seem to have a problem with the distinction between caring for and caretaking, really consider seeking marriage counseling. Caretaking can be toxic and deadly to an otherwise good relationship, and it is imperative to address it. Spending some time and money addressing caretaking relationship issues and learning healthy “caring for” strategies can truly mean a happier, more fulfilling marriage and life. This is an area where couples therapy can be most effective, so if you need marriage help with caretaking, take heart. Don’t deny yourself and your spouse the peace and happiness that can result when healthy relationship behaviors take root.