England rugby player Courtney Lawes has urged young couples to get married before they decide to live together and start a family – and called on the Government to incentivise marriage.
The 31-year-old British Lion, who plays for Aviva Premiership rugby union team Northampton Saints, revealed that his half-brother didn’t enjoy a stable upbringing like he did and ended up in jail.
His call came as a report by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think- tank revealed that 70 per cent of young offenders come from broken homes. The report warned that family instability is one of the leading causes for negative outcomes for children and that unmarried couples are four times more likely to split.
Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Lawes explained how a ‘stable and loving family’ helps protect against ‘the most anxious moments’.
He noted that in today’s society ‘young people seem reluctant to marry’ and ‘unmarried parents have doubtless inspired a generation who do not know what marriage means’.
He also told Radio 4’s Today programme: “A marriage is a good indicator for the stability of your relationship and maybe as well where you are financially.
“At the end of the day it’s about giving your children the best opportunity they are going to have. Being in a marriage does incentivise you to work on things if they are not going well, work on them more.”
Commenting on his own upbringing, Mr Lawes added: “I probably wouldn’t be playing rugby now if my mum and dad hadn’t been together.
“Not coming from a lot of money, if we didn’t have two incomes there was no way I would have been able to do what I was going to do.”
Christian Action Research & Education (CARE) welcomed Mr Lawes’ comments on the importance of marriage in society and urged politicians to follow suit.
“It’s brilliant to see a star such as Courtney coming out publicly and talking about the benefits of marriage,” said a CARE spokesperson. “Sadly, for many years politicians have been too afraid to do this. The moment you talk about how positive marriage is, you’re accused of ignoring single parents and the unmarried. But what we cannot do is ignore the evidence.
“Marriage is good for couples. It’s good for children. In fact, it significantly improves a child’s life chances. Given this is so, the Government should ‘level up’ marriage by providing incentives to open it up as an option for more people.
“If you care about social justice, you should care about marriage.”
Picture: Courtney Lawes and Charles Ollivon during the Six Nations rugby union tournament match between France and England at the stade de France, in Saint Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on 2nd February 2020. ( Blondet Eliot/ABACA/PA).