The RBG Way Excerpt: What Would Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Do?

by  | November 13

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the most influential political leaders not only of our time, but in all of U.S. history. In her book The RBG Way, Rebecca Gibian dispenses some of the powerful pieces of wisdom she’s gleaned from comments by Justice Ginsburg. From women’s rights to the importance of bravery to how to inspire impactful societal change, The RBG Way sheds light on the important beliefs Justice Ginsburg holds.

Could you use some life coaching from the great RBG? Get in line—or check out this special excerpt from The RBG Way! Read about how Justice Ginsburg met her husband (on a not-so-blind date!) and why “Find yourself a partner like Marty” makes a good dating mantra.

It was supposed to be a blind date, but Marty Ginsburg cheated. He saw Ruth Bader on Cornell’s campus and convinced his friend to arrange the meeting because he thought she was cute. The two were both seeing other people (Marty had a girlfriend at Smith College, while Ruth had maintained a relationship with a boy she had met at summer camp who attended Columbia University), so the date was only meant to introduce the two as “safe” company for each other. But the two soon realized they shared an intense connection, intellectually and emotionally. As Ruth always says, Marty was the first boy who cared that she had a brain.

As for Marty, he realized the extent of her intelligence on their second date. It was then that he understood she was not only really smart, but she wasn’t “glib,” Marty once said of his wife. He once told the authors of My Own Words that more than anyone else he’d ever met, Ruth is not afraid of “dead air time.” If you ask her something, she will stop and think through her answer before responding. At the time, he said that she had done this for the more than five decades he has known her, and still did it at dinner.

Their love story proceeded quickly and soon became legendary. Marty said he knew that he wanted to spend his life with Ruth before she decided the same, but he said it was clear to him early on that he was going to have a happier life if she was in it. They became a couple her junior year (he was a year older than she) and were inseparable.

His marriage proposal, asked while they were in the car, elicited a loud yes from Ruth. They were married in 1954, in the backyard of Marty’s parents’ Long Island home. After the ceremony, Ruth’s new mother-in-law took her aside to tell her, “In every good marriage, it pays sometimes to be a little deaf.” At the same time, she handed Ruth wax earplugs. To this day, Ruth says she used that advice in both her marriage and on the court.

In a world of dating apps and crowded bars, of rom-coms and high expectations, it can sometimes be hard to imagine a partnership like that found between Ruth Bader and Marty Ginsburg. But it is an important reminder to all of us that this level of intimacy and support can exist in a relationship. Your idea of a family might not look like RBG’s. Maybe you don’t believe in marriage, maybe you have more than one life partner, or maybe you see yourself building a family in a non-traditional way. No matter what your definition of a partner is, I still think the lesson is still there: Find yourself a partner like Marty. Someone who empowers and uplifts you, who makes you laugh, and who not only sees your career goals as being as important as theirs but goes above and beyond to help you achieve them.

Excerpted from The RBG Way by Rebecca GibianCopyright © 2019 by author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.