Two college sweethearts, who learned the meaning of unconditional love after one of them suffered a brain injury, which left him subsequently mentally and physically disabled, are set to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary this week in conjunction with the release of their book, Eight Twenty Eight, which chronicles the journey of their special marriage.
Ian and Larissa Murphy have experienced life's lowest lows since the day Ian got into a car accident in 2006 on his way to work. He had been saving up for an engagement ring after having dated Larissa for 10 months when that tragic accident occurred. Larissa could have moved on with her life, but instead she moved in with his family to help care for him during a time when he could not walk, talk or eat.
Now eight years later, Larissa tells The Christian Post that Ian has improved on many fronts, and their marriage is going strong.
"Ian has done a lot better. He wasn't really walking at all at our wedding and was very dependent on his wheelchair," Larissa said. "The first year of marriage isn't easy at all but relationally, each year has become more fun."
Instead of spending her days in the waiting room or ICU of a Pittsburg hospital anxiously to hear about Ian's brain test results or medical procedures – which she did in 2006 – Larissa says these days she manages to balance her career and marriage the best she can; Larissa works full-time in marketing.
A major recent development for the couple is that the pair moved into their first home earlier this summer as they had been living with relatives since the time of his accident, she shares.
"There definitely were times where I thought there is probably something that is easier, emotionally. Even after we got married, there were times where I'd think, 'this is too hard, I can't do this.' But at the end of the day, I didn't want to not be with Ian," Larissa says.
She adds, "This probably sounds really cheesy but I just love him and he's my best friend. It goes without saying that we have a belief in God that is bigger than us. I know we're fine because God is holding us."
As if Ian's accident was not difficult enough, tragedy struck when his father, Steve, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a few years later. Although the Murphys have experienced it all, Larissa says there are moments when she feels she cannot get through life's obstacles.
After the accident, we thought we wouldn't have to go through anything that hard because living through it was crazy enough but when we found out his dad had brain cancer, in some ways, it almost wasn't that surprising because at that point we knew the Lord gives and takes away … I feel like I can handle the big things but it's the small things, that's where I doubt and I don't apply the lessons that we've learned and I don't even know why that is," she says.