Monday, August 24, 2015

Eight Twenty Eight, by Ian and Larissa Murphy

You may have seen the viral video that circulated a while back about Ian and Larissa Murpy.  As college kids, Ian and Larissa met and fell in love.  While they were dating, not yet engaged but definitely thinking about marriage, Ian had a car accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury.  They stuck together and after a few years they got married.

This video tells part of their story:

They have written a book about their relationship and what they have learned about God.  Eight Twenty Eight, as most Christians will recognize, refers to Romans 8:28, which says that all things work together for the good of those who love God.  It's also the date they chose for their wedding.

Larissa, a longtime journaler, reveals her thoughts from the time they were dating, the time after the accident wondering if Ian would survive, and the years of rehab and contemplating their future together.  She's honest and vulnerable in her writing.  One can't help but be moved by their story and by Larissa's devotion during a time when many would not have considered continuing the relationship.

I couldn't help but wonder what I might have done in a similar situation.  If someone is married, and one spouse has an accident or becomes ill, I think sticking around is non-negotiable.  That's part of the wedding vows.  (Of course, that's ideal, not reality for every couple. . . .)  If a couple is engaged, there are implicit vows, but the relationship hasn't been sealed before God.  Ian and Larissa had been dating for only a few months when Ian had the accident.  Their relationship was still in that giddy college dating stage.  For her to decide to stick with Ian reveals a heart that had vowed to stick with him forever.

Given the freshness of their relationship and their young age, as I read I continually found myself wondering if there was a sense of projecting her ideals from the "newly in love"relationship onto their "forever no matter what" relationship.  Ian's injury seems to have frozen their relationship in her perception at the college romance stage.  Larissa's writing repeatedly has the tone of "I really want this to work out. . . . I'm going to make it work out. . . . I feel like it should work out. . . ."  It just seemed forced and artificial.  Being in the voice of a girl barely out of her teens, has a "Dear Diary" feel that I found hard to get past.

The bottom line is that I admire the Murphy's bond.  I hope and pray that Ian continues to improve and regain abilities.  I am confident that their relationship will continue to grow and to inspire others.  I just wish I had been content to stop with the video and not read the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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