Ian and Larissa Murphy Interview

  • March 31, 2015
  • #8587

Listen to Joni interview Larissa Murphy talk about marriage for young couples affected by a disability.

Ian and Larissa Murphy Interview

Joni: Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an interview that’ll touch your heart.

You may have watched the story of Ian and Larissa on a YouTube video that was circulating last year around this time. It was so powerful, their story moved me so much, I just knew I had to share it with you. Ian and Larissa met in college back in 2005, they started dating, fell in love, and then in September of 2006 on his way to work to earn money for an engagement ring, Ian’s car slammed under an SUV. But I would like my friend Larissa to tell the story from there.

Joni: Welcome, Larissa!

Larissa: Thank you Joni. Thank you for having me.

Joni: It’s a joy! Exactly how serious was that car accident?

Larissa: It was so bad and I don’t even think, I know I didn’t even realize how bad it was until even weeks and months after when I had some time to process. But they had to use the jaws of life to get Ian out, and he was Life-Flighted to a Pittsburgh hospital and was in emergency brain surgery for 12 hours.

Joni: Wow! So Ian is left with a significant brain injury. What were your thoughts when your fiancé (I mean, this was the man you were going to marry) was in the hospital, fighting for his life?

Larissa: Well, we were actually just dating at that time and had been together for about 10 months. And I remember just clinging to the hope that he wouldn’t die and really not having any understanding of what the next few weeks or months would look like. I really didn’t even understand brain injuries that much to even have a category for understanding what that potentially could look like. But I knew that if the situation were reversed Ian wouldn’t leave me, and so in a sense it was easy to stay by his side and be his best friend because that is what he had been to me, and I knew that I wouldn’t want to be alone if I were the one in the hospital bed.

Joni: Wow! Well, Ian comes out of the hospital and he is in a wheelchair, partially paralyzed, still recovering from his brain injury. It’s very difficult for him to speak at all. So, when did you decide to marry?

Larissa: Well, I didn’t want to get married before Ian could communicate well with me and his progression to speaking. He went from blinking to yes or no, giving his thumbs up or down – so he could communicate but it was tricky because I kind of had to pose yes or no questions, and I really wanted to hear what was on his heart and what was in his mind specific to our marriage. But it really took Ian getting to the point where he could communicate well that we were able to look at it long term.

Joni: So you have been married how long?

Larissa: It has been four and a half years.

Joni: Well, before you and I went on the air today we were talking a little bit about how my marriage to Ken parallels so much your marriage to Ian. You have learned so much about dealing with all kinds of challenges. What advice would you give young couples?

Larissa: So much of it comes down to us being each other’s best friend. You know, he was the person that I wanted to be sharing all of my life with and that naturally led itself to a bond that I think has continued to keep us able to enjoy each other.

Joni: I can’t think of better advice to give couples who are either young or old than to be your spouse’s best friend and you have underscored that so beautifully.

Friend listening, this being Brain Injury Awareness Month we have posted this remarkable video about Ian and Larissa on my radio page today, so please visit joniandfriends.org, and be inspired; be inspired as I once was when I saw this video. And be sure to share it with any of your Facebook friends who are contemplating marriage, or perhaps struggling with a chronic injury in their marriage, or just wanting to see what the love of God looks like in a relationship. Thank you, Larissa, for joining us today and would you give a big hug to Ian for us!

Larissa: I will. Thank you for having me.

© Joni and Friends


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