Faith, Love and Marriage After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Ian and Larissa Murphy share their story of enduring love after Ian's traumatic brain injury.

Posted in , Oct 16, 2015

Faith, Love and Marriage After a Traumatic Brain Injury

In 2006, Ian and Larissa Murphy were 21-year-old college sweethearts planning a future together. Then tragedy struck. Ian, who had been working extra jobs to save up money to buy his then-girlfriend of 10 months a ring, was in a terrible car accident on his way to work. He suffered a traumatic brain injury.

For the first two and a half years after his injury, Ian couldn’t talk or eat, but Larissa stayed by his side, moving in with his family to help them care for Ian.

“I just prayed a lot,” Larissa tells on the 9-year anniversary of Ian’s accident. “If we weren’t supposed to be together, God would take that love I have for Ian away, and He didn’t.”

After years of therapy, Ian began to speak again and Larissa was thrilled to see his personality  and his humor were still very much a part of him.

“When Ian started talking again he was clearly the same person. Laughter has always been a foundation of our relationship. That form of enjoyment has not been affected by his disability,” she says. It’s apparent in their appearance on OWN’s documentary series Belief where Ian jokes about why he wanted to marry Larissa (“It was the only way we could have sex,” he says and she laughs hysterically).

Four years after his accident, the two were married in an outdoor ceremony surrounded by family, friends and laughter.

It’s the laughter and their incredible faith in God that keep them going through Ian’s recovery.

Though Larissa is Ian’s primary caregiver, she doesn’t think of herself as one. “I see myself as a wife, as his helper,” she says. “In the 5 short years we’ve been married, I just feel like I’m hanging out with my best friend.”

Ian tells, “I just try to be the best husband for her.”

“Like Ian’s dad used to say, ‘We’ll know the full story in heaven.’ Until then," she says, "we’ll keep reminding ourselves of the truths that we know about God, that He is merciful and loving towards us.”

Remembering God’s character is what keeps Larissa from questioning whether the tragedy of their lives is in any way a punishment. “I think especially for me, the story of Job has resonated with me a lot when wondering why or if this is the result of something we did wrong. I have the option to either bless God or curse Him and I don’t ever want to think myself capable of cursing Him. Who am I to curse God? I want to choose to bless instead and believe in His love for me.”

Watch Ian and Larissa share their story in the OWN documentary series ‘Belief’ on October 19, 8p.m./7c.

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