Santería and Marriage: How to Increase Chances of Success

Shared Passion and Religion Strengthens a Marriage
The success rate in Santería marriages has not been, to my knowledge, officially studied and measured. However, it is common wisdom that people who share a common faith have more chances of success than those who do not.

Over coffee this morning, my husband and I started to reminisce about our life together. It has been nearly 16 years since we married. Our journey together started by with a simple question. “Do you know anything about Santeria?” We had just met at a party and he learned that I was from Puerto Rico. The conversation took off to a great start. We discovered many spiritual and mundane common interests and our relationship bloomed both spiritually and romantically.

In time I devoted my life to Yemayá and him to Obatalá. Life has tested our marriage in many ways and it is the Egun and the Orishas who keep us strong together as a family by providing us the guidance to overcome obstacles and the wisdom to follow advice even when sometimes it may not be exactly as we have foreseen.

An interesting fact about us as a couple is that although we are fully committed to one another, our commitment to our head orishas comes always first. Now, some of you may wonder how this can be. When a couple shares spiritual harmony and respect, their head orishas work together, it is as simple as that. A strong household begets the ideal ground to develop strong children and godchildren.

Here are some things we have learned along the way.

1. Honor the Egun as a family. Honoring and servicing the ancestors together at least once per month is crucial. This allows for children to observe, learn and be active participants is a crucial routine. The family here has a time and space to voice petitions, thank the egun for blessings and pour their heart out. This can also be a healing ground if there are any unresolved issues as they can be brought forth to the egun and resolved.

2. The power of collective ebbó. It is healthy to do a reading at the beginning of the year for the household and family to determine ebbó for the year. One of these ebbós can be feeding the earth as a family.

3. Keep tidy altars. Another way to increase ashé in the house is to have tidy ritual spaces that are kept in shape by assigning tasks amongst family members.

4. Keep communications flowing. Unspoken words are wasted opportunities for growth and learning. It is imperative to follow a simple rule, do not let the sun set over disagreements. Iron kinks out before going to sleep. There is nothing worse than festering wounds for it breeds osogbo.

5. Be selective in your associations. Keep a close eye on who comes to your house, both to your spiritual house and as guests. Get rid of any relationship that creates discord in the family unit. Do not tolerate gossip and do not engage in gossip. Gossip breeds osogbo.

6. Adhere to a cleansing routine. At least once per month do a spiritual cleansing of your home and prepare a collective ebbó misí (spiritual bath) for all family members.

We are sure that there are many other lessons that readers can share in the forum and we welcome your thoughts and experiences since no one has the full secrets to a happy married life. At least we hope this helps those who are just starting a married life and those who are thinking about embarking in this lifelong commitment.

May your home and destiny as a couple always be in harmony,

Kal and Omimelli
Olo Obatalá and Oní Yemayá Achagbá

34 Replies to “Santería and Marriage: How to Increase Chances of Success”

  1. On aniversaries, birthdays, holidays or just whenever, my husband and I honor each others tutelary orisha as well. My husband has shango made and I like to thank shango for bringing me a son of his that is an excellent husband, father, friend, provider and protector to his family. So, with my husband’s permission, I like to serve his Chango an occasional adimu and my husband, in turn, will bring flowers to my Yemaya (he’s not much of a cook lol) or some other small token of appreciation.

    1. Liz

      That is an excellent exchange. I think it is very healthy to petition to each other’s orisha. One roof, one purpose, one spiritual devotion. That is what cohesiveness is all about.

      🙂

      Omimelli

  2. Dear Omimelli

    I am blessed to see that you are doing well! I too am blessed to share a deep and abiding relationship with my husband that allows us to honor our spiritual path before our relationship, to care for and protect our family right next to that. When the bonds are close and in proper balance with Spirit so are we.

    I will admit we both share your love of good coffee, sharing things we love is an important daily ritual..small things bring great joy… thank you for reminding me of this.

    (((((((((hugs)))))))))

    Love

    Kjerstin

  3. Great article! I do wonder if it is best to marry within the religion. Babalowos have told me that me marrying a babalowo is important being crowned Obba. We shall see.

    Iyawo Obba

    1. Hi Iyawó,

      Thanks for reading TMC. From my experience it is best to marry someone you love but who also shares your religious point of view, even if they do not practice it with the same intensity. Respect and devotion are important in a marriage.

      As far as marrying a babalawo…well that is all in the Stars, if it is meant to be for your happiness it will be. If it is a status thing, like I have seen for many women, then think about it long and hard, there are challenges that come with every marriage.

      Onareo,

      Omimelli

  4. There are so many myths about being married to a Babalawo. My husband is and it is a challange and one a woman has to be prepared for, if any woman is thinking of marring a Babalawo for status she would be sadly mistaken. The responsibilities are great and deep. Once Orula is in your home everything changes and so does the marriage. It took me a little time to learn how to serve my husband the right way but this is definatly a two way street. Blessings to all!!!

    1. Hija de Yemaya,

      Thank you kindly for your time and for posting a response. I am sure that changes in the marriage are interesting to say the least. The work of the apetebi is of great importance and requires a great deal of patience and humility.

      Could you share with the forum what were the main changes and adjustments you had to make?

      Odabo

      Omimelli

      1. i am currently in love with babalawo but being told by my padrino that i cannot be with him because me and him both our mother is yemaya is this true?

        1. Hello

          Thanks for your post. I am amazed at the level of ignorance some so called santeros display. If I was you, I would be seriously considering finding another ilé. There is nothing that keeps two people with the same head orisha (I will asume you have kariosha made) from being together. Now, if you are brother and sister born from the same stones in the same house, there I have objections. Otherwise, no.

          Omimelli

  5. My fiancé practices the religion and I’m a practicing catholic. I’m wondering if this might be conflicting and harmful towards our future marriage. Also what goes on in an official marriage ceremony?? Sorry im not full knowledgeable in this and would really appreciate knowledge on the subject. Thank you

    1. Hello Lovebug26

      This is certainly a delicate consideration. Families that pray together, tend to stay together or at least increase their chances of success.

      Here are the things I would like you to consider carefully. In any relationship, the key element for success is knowing yourself. When you know yourself you can deal with most situations accordingly because you know how far to go, how much to commit and how and when to compromise.

      1. Are you willing to allow your future husband to have privacy to practice at will in his home and your home?
      2. Will you participate as needed if needed in any ritual that may involve you as the woman of the house? This could be a simple cleansing or you hosting a dinner for other orisha people. That in itself can be a ritual, cooking and feeding orisha people at your home.
      3. How involved is he? Is he an olosha or an aleyo?
      4. How involved will he want to be in the future?
      5. What if he decides to become an olosha? Will you be able to respect his restrictions as iyawo. Meaning no sex for the first 3 months or up to a year depending on the house?
      6. Will you consider as well that once you have children he has as much right to raise the children in the orisha community as you would in the Catholic Church? How would you solve this?

      These are some simple questions that you need to consider.

      It is really important that you talk about this with him and that you have a good relationship with the santeria people who surround him. You do not want other folks creating a divide between you too if you decide to continue on together but you are not perceived in the community as not
      supportive.

      I am here to help you tease out answers if you need a sounding board.

      Good luck,

      Omimelli

      1. Dear Lovebug26
        My husband practices Santeria and I am Christian. We’ve been together for 16 years and although this may seem like a long time it’s been a VERY bumpy road. Two religions that completely contradict one another brings a lot of disagreements. From my perspective two people should have the same faith so they are able to have strong marriages by worshipping once a week, praying with each other and talking about the word. We find ourselves on two seperately paths always trying to meet at the end of the day. We love each other deeply but love alone won’t help you spiritually just speaking from experience. I hope you find my comment not as discouraging but as someone who has and is living with someone of a different religion. There is a lot that isn’t considered when love is the only thing you are considering when deciding to marry. I recommend you find someone with the same beliefs or else you may just find yourself drifting apart as you get older trying to find peace in your life. Religion means a lot more as you get older with kids and family. May God bless you in any decision you make.

    2. Oshun Madre mía
      Enséñame a actuar
      Entra en mí
      Y has que sienta la sinceridad
      Del verdadero amor
      Acudo a ti pues mí
      Mayor necesidad es sentir
      El amor en mi vida
      Es poder lograr esa emoción
      Quiero aprender a ver la vida
      De distinta manera
      Quiero un amor puro
      Un amor verdadero
      Que haga de mí una persona mejor
      Una persona de bien
      Quiero poder sentir el amor en mi vida
      Poder tener la dicha de sentir
      Que soy una mujer de amor
      Una mujer bondadosa
      Quiero sentir la presencia
      De ese hombre en mi mente
      Y en mi corazón
      (Decir el Nombre de la Persona a Doblegar)
      Oshun madre mía
      Una vez más hazme instrumento
      Y transmisor de tu paz de tu amor
      Oshun madre mía
      Quiero ver en mí
      Lo que un día tú lo hiciste
      Quiero sentir y saborear la paz, la confianza
      Ayúdame a encontrar el amor que necesito
      Para poder atraer a mi vida
      (Decir el Nombre de la Persona a Doblegar)
      Que su corazón solo se fije en mí
      Que sus oídos solo me escuchen a mí
      Oshun madre mía
      Lo que tú quieras concédeme
      Lléname de amor
      Lléname de valor, de gracia
      Lléname de bondad
      Oshun madre mía
      (Decir tu Nombre)
      Mi corazón te lo entrego a ti
      Cámbialo por uno mejor
      No pido que borres mis errores
      Solo que me des la oportunidad
      De poder hacer que mis experiencias
      Sean compartidas con
      (Decir el Nombre de la Persona a Doblegar)
      Oshun madre mía
      Me sirvan de algo y yo así
      Poder llegar a tener
      El verdadero en mi vida
      Oshun madre mía
      Ayúdame a que
      (Decir el Nombre de la Persona a Doblegar)
      Sienta el verdadero amor por mí
      Con tu paz tu bondad,
      Confió en que así será, gracias
      Oshun Madre mía,
      Así sea.
      Para que llame hoy mismo a mi celular.
      Lee atentamente esta oración y haz lo que te dice sin ignorar los pasos que te pide seguir. Porque si no solo obtendrás los resultados contrarios de lo que pidas. Piensa en la persona con la que quieres estar y di su nombre para ti 3 veces. Piensa en lo que quieres que ocurra con esa persona en la siguiente semana y repítelo para ti 6 veces. Ahora piensa en lo que quieres con esa persona y dilo 1 vez. Ahora di: Rayo de luz yo te invoco para que desentierres a _____ donde esté o con quien esté y le hagas llamarme hoy mismo enamorado y arrepentido.
      Desentierra todo lo que está impidiendo que ______ venga a mi ___________. Aparta a todos los que contribuyan a que nos apartemos y que él no piense más en otras mujeres, que solo piense en mi ___________. Que él me llame y me ame. Gracias, gracias por tu misterioso poder que siempre cumple con lo que se le pide.
      Luego tienes que publicar la oración 3 veces, en tres sitios diferentes. Suerte.

      Responder

      Nathalia Alba24 de noviembre de 2016, 17:43
      3
      oracion de amarre: lee lentamente esta oracion y haz lo que e dice sin ignorar los pasos que te pide seguir porqu

  6. Bendicion Omimelli,

    I’ve had a question on my mind for some time. I’ve finally decided to ask it here because I feel a relatively high degree of trust in the information you provide on this blog. I have been living with my partner for almost 6 years now and we have a son together. My partner is initiated to Obbatala and I received Los Guerreros and Olokun in the same casa de santo where he was coronated, from his Padrino. In my last consulta, it was determined that in about 5 years time I would also have to be initiated for health reasons. From my understanding, a couple’s orishas may not be born from the same otanes as it constitutes an incestuous relationship. My question is the twofold, to what extent is this true? And can a couple belong to the same casa de santo? I would really appreciate your opinion on this topic.

    1. Lily

      Here is the most important consideration. Does your health really requires that you get kariosha? I have seen so many people doing this for the wrong reasons or because they are convinced to do so for ‘health’ reasons. I mean there is so much we can do to improve our health, for example, drink 8 glasses of water per day. That helps the body function better, get rid of impurities, assist in weight loss and more.

      You may think I have gone off on a tangent, but I have not. Make sure you are taking this step because it completes your spiritual development and because it makes you happy as a human being. Do not go to this initiation seeking to obtain tangible benefits from it or you will come out disappointed. This is not about tid for tad.

      Ok so going to the other question. There are different schools of thinking. I happen to think that it is not wise to have the same godparents. Let say that in the future you happen to be at odds with your significant other. Who is going to support you and be your spiritual advisor? The same godparents will see to both of you with the same level of loyalty? What if you find out that your significant other is doing workings against you? Who will the godparent choose to defend?

      And yes, being born fro. The same pot is equivalent to spiritual incest. Consider your options carefully. Consider your needs as individual and then, consider that your partner is already a senior member of that house because he was initiated many years ahead of you.

      I hope this helps.

      Omimelli

  7. Hi all, I stumbled across this blog because of the title. I am not initiated YET..still at the very beginning stages of this journey. However, and I am hoping someone can give advise and insight. I met someone who is in the religion in fact he is an oriate/italero and for many many years. He is also many year older than I. I went to him for a reading and did an ebo to Oshun and other stuff that he advised me on..as I started to form a relationship with him and trust him I wanted him to be my padrina..long story short he could not be because he confessed that he was attracted to me and that it would be taboo. I agreed because I soon had the same feeling. Things were moving along in the relationship and he kinda had two reasons in my life being my man and guiding me through this religion, educating me and so forth.. Cut to the chase, for whatever reason the relationship started to fade ( I think he started to get insecure about the age and what he would be able to be/do for me as a man) so right now it is a BIG stall in the relationship and I have not seen him..My anxiety now is continuing with my journey with the possibility that I may have seek another house, seek other peoples to be padrinos..I fear that I will not be guided correctly. I have learned so much from him that I put in prayer to the orishas (which omg they are powerful) especially Oshun!!! So now that I am not with him but know for sure that I am taking this journey Im a bit cautious about seeing/dating men who are not in the religion, fearing that this may cause an issue for them, even me. I still love the other man but am not sure if our relationship will return and flourish..Any advise is welcomed..

    Ro

  8. January 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Hi all, I stumbled across this blog because of the title. I am not initiated YET..still at the very beginning stages of this journey. However, and I am hoping someone can give advise and insight. I met someone who is in the religion in fact he is an oriate/italero and for many many years. He is also many year older than I. I went to him for a reading and did an ebo to Oshun and other stuff that he advised me on..as I started to form a relationship with him and trust him I wanted him to be my padrina..long story short he could not be because he confessed that he was attracted to me and that it would be taboo. I agreed because I soon had the same feeling. Things were moving along in the relationship and he kinda had two reasons in my life being my man and guiding me through this religion, educating me and so forth.. Cut to the chase, for whatever reason the relationship started to fade ( I think he started to get insecure about the age and what he would be able to be/do for me as a man) so right now it is a BIG stall in the relationship and I have not seen him..My anxiety now is continuing with my journey with the possibility that I may have seek another house, seek other peoples to be padrinos..I fear that I will not be guided correctly. I have learned so much from him that I put in prayer to the orishas (which omg they are powerful) especially Oshun!!! So now that I am not with him but know for sure that I am taking this journey Im a bit cautious about seeing/dating men who are not in the religion, fearing that this may cause an issue for them, even me. I still love the other man but am not sure if our relationship will return and flourish..Any advise is welcomed..

    ScorpSpirit(ro)

    1. Dear Scorp

      There is a fundamental reason why we do not fish on our own peer. You have found out that spiritually we cannot be subordinate or guided by our partners. I am glad the oriate was clear about his feelings and you received no initiations from him. Did I get this part right? I do hope so.

      My suggestion is, take a cooling down time, pray to the orisha and they will indeed mark the way for you to find suitable godparents. Yes, Oshun is indeed powerful. :-).

      Omimelli

      1. Good Morning,
        Than you for your reply..No I was never going to be initatied by him, it would have been by someone else. I don’t want to repeat my story again..but the “cooling down time” you suggests, I have done that and Maferefun Oshun..she answered my petition and prayer and I think elegua ( lil too)he was listening ;-)..I think He(oriate) and I have some sorting out and communicating to do..And by being still, I know that this journey will happen sooner than later…

  9. I’m a Caribbean student and i am doing a reasearch on Santeria and i have come to finding out about the wedding and i have been coming up empty handed do you think you can tell me how the wedding is conducted for my project please and thank you

  10. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  11. Hi . I am a christian and husband is of this religion. But he does not “practice” it. He has his osun, elegua, and guerrero set by the door for the past 20 years that we have been married but does not take care of it. Occasionally he might. In the 20 years that we have been married its been rocky and we have almost gotten a divorce 3 times for financial reasons. In those 3 times, that we have been separated i have seen a glimpse of personal advance. When we get back together he seems without passion to “move forward” and has no personal goals. His health is also deteriorating. He suffers from gout and kidney stones, he has medication, follows a compliant diet, but nothing seems to help him get better. I see him stuck in his personal life, which hinders our family life and any future goals we might be able to obtain as a family. He was consulted about two years ago and was told someone from his past more than 20years ago has put a hex on him ( a young girls mother) when he left cuba. He was cleansed and so was I and he said he felt better after that. And his health temporarily improved after he took care of his elegua. He has stopped doing that. I do not know if I am over reacting or if what I am thinking could even be possible, since we do not share the same faith. I do know that this religion is powerful and some people do not do good things as in all walks of life. I respect his belief and want to help him get out of his rut. What do you suggest I do to help him ? Please advise and thank you any info would be helpful.

    1. Barbara, I see you mentioned that you are a Christian and your husband is from the Yoruba religion. If you doing mind me asking, how did you overcome the different beliefs of religion in order to get to marriage. My boyfriend and I just broke up in part because he was told his partner would have to be of the same religion, he has his Ifa done and is in his first year of process. I’m confused and don’t know what to do. I hope you can help me clarify this issue, I’d greatly appreciate your input. Thank you.

  12. Omimelli, please help me.
    Hello, my name is Haddye. I posted a reply to an earlier post by Barbara, but I really need urgent clarifying about this.
    I recently started dating someone who practices the Yoruba religion, as a matter of fact he recently, prior to meeting me had his Ifa done and he is now in his first year of process. We’ve dating for one month and we just broke up in part because aparently the woman that he is with has to be from his same religion. Is this right? I am christian and I belive that although my religion and his are very different, I think is a matter of respecting each other’s religious belief. Please I would really appreciate your imput in this matter. We are both going through a lot because of this situation, we have deep feelings for each other and I don’t where else to find clarification. Please Help Me!

  13. I am in a time when i am trying to gain my own home and car ,i am with family which is better than it has ever been. I also am trying to gain someone else in my life i am going to need more than a prayer and a offering what would you recommend.I am trying to start and maintain a relationship with kids.What would IFA do?

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