A Pennsylvania couple who had been dating for less than a year when one of them suffered a traumatic brain injury have married, and made a touching video documenting their journey.
Ian and Larissa Murphy first met at college in 2005, and spent 10 months "dating very intentionally" before Ian was involved in a serious car crash on his way to work near Pittsburgh.
"We watched our future crash with him in that white station wagon," Larissa wrote on desiringgod.org.
The couple had planned to marry soon after they graduated in December 2006, but the accident in September of that year changed everything.
Ian's traumatic brain injury left him severely disabled and unable to communicate.
Larissa moved in with Ian and his family to help with his therapy, and continued to date him.
"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."
She vowed they would marry if Ian ever learned to communicate again, and knew Ian had been shopping for a ring before the accident.
"I knew where he was so after he couldn't talk, that helped me so much. I knew that he loved me," Larissa said.
As Ian's condition slowly improved, the possibility of marriage became a reality.
"If he could communicate with me, 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," she said.
A judge had to approve their marriage because Ian remains unable to make that sort of decision by himself.
The judge told Larissa the couple exemplified what love was 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."
The news came too late to share with Ian's father, who died of brain cancer before their engagement.
Their video, The Story of Ian & Larissa, documents the wedding - in which Larissa sits at the altar to be beside Ian, helping him stand when it is time to say their vows:
"Though we chose marriage, we chose it sadly," Larissa said on her website.
"But in light of all the practicals, and emotionals, it was so very simple: we love each other."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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