Rose is simple minded and something of a pushover who rarely stands up for herself. On one occasion her blind sister Lily tried to guilt Rose into moving to Chicago to take care of her. At Dorothy's urging, Rose said no to Lily which forced her (Lily) to learn how to care for herself. In The Golden Palace, Rose has a much more resilient will and becomes a much stronger personality after Dorothy's departure from the group (as Dorothy notes during her lone appearance on The Golden Palace—"Seems Like Old Times"—when she states "When did she become the strong one?!").
Dorothy and Rose often clashed on-air, with Rose being generally upbeat and Dorothy reflecting a more terse, down-to-earth worldview. This reflected real-life tension between Bea Arthur and Betty White, who had similar personalities to their characters in real life.
Though portrayed as dimwitted, the show implies Rose is actually bilingual in English and Norwegian, as she often cites odd festivals, locales, customs, and food in the latter. In the episode in which her cousin Sven visits, her bilingualism is again hinted at when she explained how she had to converse with her furious Viking uncle on the phone.
Rose fell in love with Charlie Nylund, a salesman, and they later married. Rose met Charlie when she was seven and he was eight, and he sold her an insurance policy on her red wagon. She and Charlie had a long and happy marriage, and a very active sex life, to the extent that she was unaware of the existence of a popular television show titled I Love Lucy. Over the course of the series, Rose names five children: Brigit, Jenella, Kiersten, Adam, and Charlie Jr. Rose also had two granddaughters by Kiersten - Charlie (named for Kiersten's father) and another unnamed, mentioned in the episode where Rose had her heart attack. Of her children, only Brigit and Kiersten appeared on the show, although Kiersten was played by two different actresses.
Rose finally finds a significant romance with college professor Miles Webber, though their relationship is put through a serious strain when it is revealed that Miles is actually a former mobster accountant named Nicholas Carbone, and a participant in the witness protection program. His former employer, "The Cheese Man," begins dating Rose in order to get information on Miles's whereabouts. Eventually The Cheese Man is apprehended, Rose and Miles resume their lives together, and all goes well for approximately the next year. In season 7, Rose and Miles consider marriage, but ultimately decide against rushing into anything. Their relationship later ends permanently during an episode of The Golden Palace when Rose discovers that Miles loves and subsequently marries another woman.