So, I've been studying Celtic history and mythology since I was... 19? Yeah, that's about right... a long time. In fact, I was recently asked to participate in an audio ebook about Irish folk legends as an "expert"! Can you imagine? Anyway, the thing is, I also studied paganism in general (a story for another day) and from all of this I took away a very basic philosophy that I truly believe today and struggle to live by.
The Celts (a branch of people who originated in what is now (generally) western Russia way before the Hebrews and worked their way across Europe to Ireland. They, of course, left cultural influences along the way, including pantheons of god and goddesses who are all the same but with different names. At the core of their belief system was the idea that the physical, spiritual. and mental aspects of humans ultimately did not function at peak levels unless all three were equally balanced. Much like other "aboriginal" cultures, Celts saw these three worlds overlapping: the spiritual in the physical, the mental in the physical, etc. For peoples such as the Celts, enlightenment occurred not when a person overcame the physical, as it is in many eastern philosophies, and not when one gave their destiny over to a higher power, as it is in most western philosophies. The Celts found perfection in the balance. So you had to acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses in all three worlds within yourself and work to improve weaknesses in all three to make yourself a more perfect human being, living a life that would end one day where your body would return to the cycle of life, your mind would go in the form of memories to the living, and your spirit would continue as it was, in its world with other spirits, remaining connected to other spirits regardless of whether or not they were bound to the physical.
Short lesson in Celtic philosophy.
So, this is how I tend to see the world, although I'm still on the long road to finding that perfect balance.
I was thinking about my relationship with Natasha this morning and how I might go about explaining the changes in different terms. That's when the Celts popped into my head. I was thinking about love in particular and how I could explain to a child the nature of love. Our kids, for example, love just about everybody who isn't a bad guy, our son is just starting to get that you can love your sister, for example, but you don't marry her. So that's a start.
The point: We are not perfect beings and according to the Celts, even when we are, we acknowledge the physical as much as the spiritual and mental. I read about lots of spouses who stay with their trans partner because they are past the sexual peak of their lives and all they really want in life is to be with their best friend forever. That's wonderful! I also hear of TONS of spouses who leave at the start because they need a man (or a woman) and now that the proper sexual organ is going away, so am I. That's okay, too, I guess, but if you think of the latter example, there's no mental or spiritual consideration. It's purely physical and the Celts would be unhappy.
When I married J, there was definitely a spiritual component to it, as there continues to be with Natasha to this very moment. When J became Natasha, the physical changed and, trust me, I have been working hard to reconcile that with my physical self. I'm still working on it and I'm far from being done figuring things out. However.... I acknowledge that the physical side of why I fell in love with J is not present in Natasha. I am out of balance in my relationship with her.
Again, I stress that I am not done figuring this out. I struggle to listen to the three worlds inside me to find the balance, and what I want is for that balance to include her. I honestly don't know what that will look like, although I can say for 100% certain that she is forever my soul mate and best friend.
I'm sharing this because more spouses are coming to me for help and I thought that, no matter what your beliefs are, if you try to take a little advice from the Celts, you might find the right balance for you. But it's very hard. It's often painful. We should be doing this anyway, frankly. In the end, we know ourselves better than we ever imagined and we feel stronger.
Heck, I advise the transfolk do it, too. That side of the conversation isn't always that perfect, either. :-)
Acknowledge what you feel and then analyze it on all three levels. To focus on one and not the other two is to ignore your own true self and, consequently, make decisions that are not necessarily best for all involved.
I don't know if this helps any, but I felt the urge to share.