25 Love Stories 4/25
Nathan Scott and Haley James (One Tree Hill)
As far back as I can remember, watching Nathan Scott and Haley James fall in love was probably the first time I really began actively shipping something. The good old days when the word wasn’t even invented yet. Sure there’re couples I adored before them, but they ended up being the longest journey I followed, and probably the sweetest depiction of the cliché bad boy + good girl storyline. A lot can happen in a small town like Tree Hill, but it was always nice to have Nathan and Haley as shining examples of love that conquers. Even when they were apart, you always knew that they couldn’t adore anyone else the way they did each other — even when their path appeared to be too dark, you never doubted that they’d find the light back to each other. Always and forever wasn’t just a saying, it was their promise.
Contrary to the media’s portrayal of high school sweethearts, it is very rare for such love to actually last, but in the special occasions where it does; it truly is a wonderful story of growth. And that’s exactly what it was for Nathan and Haley; they grew up together — from tours and school shootings to life threatening accidents and ridiculous plots involving kidnapping. One Tree Hill was never afraid of getting dramatic and while it was a bit much at certain times, it was always incredible to watch Nathan and Haley come up stronger. The two share countless incredible moments and if I were to sit here and go through all my favorites, we’d probably have a 50 page analysis. That said, the most memorable parts of their relationship are largely due to consistency — selflessness, steadfast faith in one another, unexpected gifts, kisses in the rain, and adoration so strong, it exudes hope into the lives of everyone they touch.
Nathan Scott comes from a notoriously selfish family but it’s remarkable how he dedicates his entire life to Haley then later Jamie and Lydia. He credits most of his honorable choices to Haley’s goodness and that in itself takes great strength — too often pride doesn’t allow a person to acknowledge that they’ve changed because of some else’s faith in them. An altruistic lifestyle is key to making any relationship work and if any couple in Tree Hill faced the most quaking roadblocks, it’s Nathan and Haley. After understanding that becoming a better man was necessary in order to be worthy of her, Nathan’s always been on a path that required a fight. Challenges upon challenges, they faced head on even when it felt as though they wouldn’t succeed. The selfless foundation they built their relationship on contributes heavily to how wonderful their children are. And while we never get to see Lydia as a grown up, we can be certain that like Jamie, she’ll understand that goodness is overpowering and it’s more important to give than it is to receive. Nathan and Haley spent their lives giving and selflessly loving each other is the core reason why they’ve successfully overcome their darkest moments where it felt the partner they knew would never return. When Nathan lost himself, Haley was there to help him find home again and at times where she lost herself, he was there to remind her of the love and faith that had always played a vast role in saving him.
It’s hard enough for kids in high school to balance work and extra curricular activities without facing the experiments Nathan and Haley did. However, from the moment they declare they’re in love with one another, no matter what they face, their faith in their partner never wavers. It doesn’t matter how hurt Nathan was over Haley’s choice (tour), he continues to follow her career because the betrayal doesn’t change how proud he is of her. And when Nathan’s basketball career falls, Haley continues to believe that he can succeed at whatever he sets his mind to. Haley’s faith in Nathan is essentially when their love begins for it’s during those times where Nathan finally sees that someone will care for him even if he messes up. It’s never about perfection with the two of them but merely the will to try. That’s why no matter the mistakes they make, it doesn’t alter the way they see one another. Their faith allows the other to constantly grow as a better person, a better husband/wife, a better father/mother, and a better influence to the people in their lives.
Love is not about gifts and never will it be, but there’s something ridiculously sweet about the bracelets that become a symbol of adoration for Nathan and Haley. There’s a sense of innocence to it, the first time Nathan did it, it was almost as if he was a young boy, giving the girl he had a crush on a gift. And later on life, anytime he’d give her something, it was a mere representation of the fact that he’ll always choose her. He’ll choose to always surprise her — whether that involves bracelets out of a Cracker Jack’s box or an adorable Sixteen Candles themed dinner. I mean let’s be real, the very first bracelet is hideous, but if it were given to me in the same context, I’d never take it off either.
Much like the bracelets, kissing in the rain became a symbolic representation of their love. A way to cleanse the heartaches they’d faced while insuring that together, they can pass through all the bridges life puts in front of them. This is the part of their relationship that’s most cliché, but ultimately, each time it’s solidified the fact that they’re forgiven and stronger. It’s adorable and frankly one of the little things that have made watching them develop gorgeous.
Brooke Davis states it most beautifully during her toast at their wedding when she mentions how they’re love makes her feel safe. Their love for one another is so deep that the world watching it develop finds it easier to believe in its existence. Because Nathan and Haley love one another so ardently, they’re able to radiate the powerful emotion onto their family and friends, thereby allowing them to see that this indescribable feeling has immense abilities in changing lives. Nathan and Haley’s love shows viewers that if you love someone with everything in you, you don’t give up fighting for them. No matter how many fires you have to take out, at the end of the day, the one person who makes you better is always worth it. From the first season to the very last, we’re able to watch them not only come undone with one another, but take on everyday duties with bravery and honor. We’re able to see them confide in one another about how to deal with their children, their friends, and their family members. Their love is as real as it gets, nothing’s sugarcoated: lovers fight and cry and scream and loathe, but when it’s real, no other emotion in the world is more prevailing. Knowing their love has only ever grown, even in the midst of the harsh challenges, is indeed comforting. Always and forever.