When AMM Minister Christopher Dexheimer was asked to officiate his brother’s wedding, it was a joyous conclusion to a story with a dark beginning. That story began when the bride and groom both – unbeknownst to each other -- checked into Sierra Tucson, a psychiatric hospital and treatment center for those dealing with substance abuse.
Well… truth be told, this is also about the start of a beautiful story, since that same psychiatric hospital set the stage for a relationship that blossomed between Alba Hancock and Robbie Dexheimer.
Their relationship wasn’t always sunny -- when Ms. Hancock first saw Mr. Dexheimer, he was in withdrawal from opioids. “He was shivering and sweating,” she told the New York Times. “It was awful.” Prior to that, Mr. Dexheimer’s addiction had reduced him to a life of crime and homelessness. For her part, Ms. Hancock’s addictions had upended her life as well, ultimately landing her in the hospital and multiple treatment centers.
It took both of them years to overcome their addictions, but in the end, they made it. Almost a decade after the couple met at Sierra Tucson, their relationship, careers, and lives have improved remarkably -- and they wanted a ceremony that reflected this fact.
The groom’s brother got ordained through American Marriage Ministries and together they set about creating a ceremony to reflect their shared experiences.
The groom’s vows include the words, “you and I have never stopped pushing forward. We have never stopped loving despite the odds we faced.”
The bride’s vows included the words, “I have loved you through our darkest moments, which threatened everything. We are inextricably intertwined. We are a family.”
American Marriage Ministries is truly honored to have helped Ms. Hancock, Mr. Dexheimer and their officiant Christopher Dexheimer create such a powerfully ceremony – even if was only by providing free online ordination. Having his brother officiate was important for the groom, and the ceremony was a powerful testament to the bonds of family.
For more coverage of this event, please check out the New York Times’ excellent writeup.
Have you got an original idea that you want to incorporate into your wedding ceremony? Get started planning your own ceremony with a copy of our ceremony creation guide "Asked to Officiate."