Cross-cultural and colonial knowledge depended upon intimate and domestic contexts of production. Homes, friendships, and romances constituted a dynamic realm that was often obscured by the authoritative public image of Western intellectuals studying a foreign culture. This article investigates two cross-cultural "couples" significant to the history of Orientalism. Gertrude Bell conceptualized Iraq largely through the person of her intimate friend, King Faisal, struggling to balance her affection for him with her desire for control. Lafcadio Hearn negotiated the culture of Japan with the help of his Japanese wife, Setsu Koizumi. In both cases, love, power, and knowledge were deeply interconnected.