The heart-warming story of a Pennsylvania woman whose boyfriend suffered a debilitating brain injury has gone viral since the still-loving couple decided to get married despite his continued disability.
The Story of Ian & Larissa Murphy is about as atypical as a love story can be, but it begins and ends the way all the best ones do—with young lovebirds beating the odds to finally tie the knot.
But after a 10-month courtship came to an abrupt halt when Ian got into a horrific car accident, there was a time when nothing in their young lives seemed certain.
Weathering the storm: Larissa and Ian Murphy were happily married, but not before the young couple was able to weather incredible hardships
The way they were: Larissa and Ian met in college in 2005 and 10 months later already had plans to get engaged. But their plans came to an abrupt halt when Ian suffered a debilitating brain injury
Shattered: Ian was left unable to communicate and it became doubtful that his and Larissa’s dreams would ever come true
‘Ian and I first met in 2005 at college and had a blast for 10 months getting to know each other,’ Larissa says in a video documenting their story that has been making the internet rounds recently.
Larissa says she and Ian were ‘dating very intentionally’ and that they planned to get married soon after they were slated to finish college in December 2006.
But before that could happen, tragedy intervened.
On September 30 of that year, Ian was on his way to work near Pittsburgh when he was in a serious car crash.
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Memories: Larissa says Ian was shopping for engagement rings when he suffered his injury near Pittsburgh just months before they were to graduate from college in 2006
Hopeful: Larissa moved into Ian’s family’s home to help take care of him and waited for him to improve. If he could communicate, she said, then they could make a marriage work
‘We got a phone call that he had been in an accident,’ Larissa says. ‘ [He] had suffered a traumatic brain injury.’
Suddenly, what had seemed so certain to Larissa, became frighteningly out of reach.
‘We watched our future crash with him in that white station wagon,’ she writes on desiringgod.org.
But instead of moving on to another man and future husband, Larissa moved into Ian family’s home to help take care of him.
Though Ian was unable to communicate, she continued to date him.
‘I knew where he was so after he couldn’t talk, that helped me so much. I knew that he loved me,’ she says. ‘Looking back, it’s weird because he couldn’t talk and he couldn’t eat, so we probably looked like complete weirdos when we went on dates. But we had a blast and I just talked to him all the time.’
True love: ‘I still don’t think that Ian would have ever left me if the role had been reversed. And walking away from my best friend was never truly an option,’ says Larissa
Larissa says she and Ian were dating ‘very intentionally’ by 2006 and – despite Ian’s subsequent debilitating injuries that keep him from communicating even remotely normally – they were married
Finally: Once Ian could communicate, the couple had to ask a judge if they could marry. He said the marriage could proceed
‘You two exemplify what love is all about. I believe that marriage will not only benefit you both but our community and hope that everyone in this city could see your love for one another,’ said the judge who determined if they could marry
‘And even though we chose marriage, we chose it sadly’: Larissa and Ian live in western Pennsylvania. Larissa looks to God for inspiration as she continue to struggle with the loss of the man she once knew
As Ian’s condition slowly improved, the possibility of marriage became stronger.
‘If he could communicate with me,’ she said. ‘Then we could have a marriage knowing it would be really different but as long as Ian could talk to me we could make it work.’
While Ian became incrementally healthier, his father became sick. He was diagnosed with brain cancer during his son’s recovery.
Ian’s father’s sickness became a catalyst for Larissa, who knew how much he wanted them to marry.
When Ian was well enough, Larissa took him to a judge in order to get their marriage approved since he remains unable to make that sort of decision on his own.
According to Larissa, the judge told her: ‘You two exemplify what love is all about. I believe that marriage will not only benefit you both but our community and hope that everyone in this city could see your love for one another.’
Bittersweet: ‘We’ve watched all of our friends get married and have health. I’ve watched as my girlfriends and sisters found husbands who could dance with them at their weddings and drive them to church on Sunday morning,’ says Larissa
Bittersweet: ‘Sorrow has been a permanent resident in our 20s. It feels like the rest of the world uses these years for really fun things. But in our 20s, we have watched our future crash with him in that white station wagon’
‘It was so very simple: we love each other’: While Larissa never expected to have to provide so much for her husband’s needs, she says the choice to marry was an easy one
Touching: Larissa keeps a board in their home on which she and Ian and their visitors post what their thankful for. Larissa says half of Ian’s say ‘my wifey’
They would soon be married, though the new would come too late to share with Ian’s father, who died before their engagement.
Their video documents their touching, family and friend-filled wedding. Instead of standing, Larissa sits at the altar to be alongside the still seriously disabled Ian.
She must even help him stand as they complete their vows, just as she must now help him with everyday tasks.
Dedicated: Larissa spends her days working in marketing at a western Pennsylvania bank to help support Ian, who is unable to work
Faithful: ‘This church, and this marriage, are hemmed in by Jesus and eagerly long for heaven. He is their author and sustainer,’ says Larissa
‘But in light of all the practicals, and emotionals,’ says Larissa, ‘it was so very simple: we love each other. And we love God. And we believe He is a sovereign and loving God who rules all things.’
Difficult: ‘Marrying Ian meant that I was signing on to things that I don¿t think I ever would’ve chosen for myself,’ says Larissa, who supports Ian and manages his care. ‘The practical costs felt huge’
‘Though we chose marriage,’ says Larissa, ‘we chose it sadly. Sorrow has been a permanent resident in our 20s. It feels like the rest of the world uses these years for really fun things. But in our 20s, we have watched our future crash with him in that white station wagon and we now live with two versions of Ian.
‘Weʼve watched all of our friends get married and have health. Iʼve watched as my girlfriends and sisters found husbands who could dance with them at their weddings and drive them to church on Sunday morning.
‘Weʼve watched our dad fight and be taken by brain cancer, only to see life keep marching on.’
Despite it all, Larissa says it is worth it to be married to the love of her life.
‘But in light of all the practicals, and emotionals,’ she writes on desiringgod.org, ‘it was so very simple: we love each other.’
Larissa admits she’s been close to losing her happiness as she struggles with ‘our lot’ – a struggle she says is a common one – but she manages to keep the faith thanks to her religion
Still smiling: Alongside Ian, Larissa is still able top enjoy herself at celebrations like weddings and births despite her own personal losses
Here, Larissa gleefully holds a baby despite her longing to have one of her own, which may never happen because of her choice to stay with Ian
Inseparable: Despite his need for 24-hour care and inability to communicate as he once could, Ian still manages to have fun with Larissa
Contentment through suffering: ‘I didn’t know contentment in my prosperity,’ writes Larissa. She says the trials and tribulations she suffered with Ian have strengthened her faith and spirit
Read more: DailyMail