The Couple’s Guide to Building Trust and Emotional Intimacy by Barrie Davenport

Takeaways from Barrie Davenport’s The Couple’s Guide to Building Trust and Emotional Intimacy. I found out about Barrie from a journal that I purchased on Amazon that was one of the best purchases ever called The Mindfulness Journal: Daily Practices, Writing Prompts, and Reflections for Living in the Present Moment.

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” ~Thomas Merton 

“Consider this for a moment: why did you get involved in your love relationship in the first place? Was it, as Merton suggests, to find a reflection of yourself? Were you hoping to find the one person who would complete you and meet your needs? Maybe you were looking for someone to finally make you happy. What were your expectations from love and this person who stands by your side? Primarily we develop our love relationship because, well, we fall in love. We are magically drawn to this wonderful person who can do no wrong and whose mere presence makes us melt into a puddle of aching desire.” 

“Yet behind the powerful, chemically driven feelings of love and attraction are the more practical desires for companionship, emotional intimacy, and a sense of belonging and security.” 

The important take-away here is that love relationships are no longer defined by convenience and traditional roles. 

All problems in relationships boil down to one thing: a lack of empathic communication. 

Intimate, healthy relationships require letting go of some of that turf and recognizing that the other person’s needs and feelings are as valid as our own. 

An intimate relationship itself is a living, breathing entity that must be nurtured and cared for daily, above our own individual needs or frustrations. It you want your relationship to work, you both must work at your relationship and care for it tenderly. It can’t be one-sided, and it can’t be neglected. We have to talk about what’s bugging us, what we need from each other, and our dreams and disappointments. And we have to listen, really listen to what our beloved is saying so he or she feels heard and understood. 

The most successful, intimate relationships involve proactive communication before a conflict ever arises. As stilted or awkward as it might seem, meeting with your spouse or partner on a regular basis to ask questions and learn about each other will protect your relationship from painful altercations, and, even better, it will create a new level of intimacy between you. 

More important, by mindfully listening to your partner without judgment or anger, you will understand more about his or her motivations, fears, pain, longings, and frustrations. You offer each other a safe space to be fully open and authentic, which ultimately draws you closer together and strengthens the bond of love between you. 

These questions can be fun, humorous, enlightening, and deeply moving. You’ll be surprised at how much more you discover about yourself and about each other. 

When we acknowledge and understand the emotions behind our partner’s anger or pain, it allows us to be more compassionate and willing to find workable solutions. 

through without pain and anger, please seek the support of a trained relationship counselor to help you navigate the issue. Sometimes old wounds and pain from the past are too entrenched to unravel and heal without the help of a therapist.


  • What specific behaviors and actions from me feel most loving to you? 
  • How would you like me to verbally express my love? 
  • What kind of physical touch feels the most loving? 


  1. What makes you feel more loving toward me? 


  1. How can I ask for more love from you? 


  1. What might I say or do that would feel unloving to you? 


Perhaps we trigger old wounds from the past or cross a boundary we didn’t know existed. In an effort to keep peace, one partner might repress his or her feelings of hurt, but over time, keeping these feelings to oneself can cause resentment. 


  1. How will I know when you need more love from me? 


  1. How often do you need to hear me say, “I love you”? 


  1. What does unconditional love mean to you? Unconditional love is the ability to love the other person as he or she is in their essence. 


  1. How can we rekindle love when we see signs of apathy or distance? 


Section 2: Respect and Kindness

11. What specific actions and words make you feel respected? 

  1. How have you been disrespected in the past, and how did it make you feel? 
  2. Am I doing anything now to make you feel disrespected? 


  1. Are there any ways in which you feel undeserving of respect? 


  1. How can I support you in feeling more respected in this area? 


  1. What acts of kindness from me mean the most to you? 


  1. How have I unknowingly been less than kind to you? 


  1. How should I let you know that I feel you’re being unkind? 


  1. Do you see me as a kind person to you and others? 


  1. What acts of kindness or service could we perform together that would strengthen our relationship? 


Section 3: Communication 21.

How can we have more intimate conversations? 


So often couples get in the habit of discussing the mundane and necessary topics related to running the house, raising the kids, and dealing with finances. The long, intimate conversations you had when you first fell in love 

get lost in the routines of daily life together. But it’s these intimate conversations that create the strongest bonds between you and help you maintain closeness, romance, and trust. Discuss whether or not you are lacking in intimate conversations, and if so, how can you create the time to prioritize them? 


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Davidson Hang is currently in Sales at Cheetah Digital which is a Marketing technology company located in NYC.

Davidson is an avid networker, personal growth- life and business coach.

He loves spreading the love and regularly helps people create and design the life they want for themselves.

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