Rosalynd Guiden and Tommy Norman thought their jobs might give them a chance to work together. Their partnership evolved into something altogether different.
Rosalynd had stopped by a drugstore near her apartment complex one evening in 2013, and Tommy was there at the same time.
Tommy, who works in community policing through the North Little Rock Police Department, wasn't in uniform that night, but Rosalynd recognized him all the same.
"I told her who I was, and she said she was already aware of that," says Tommy, who was well-known locally then, and who now has 2.2 million followers on Facebook.
Rosalynd, then a new pre-kindergarten teacher in the North Little Rock School District, thought there might be opportunities for them to collaborate on projects in the future.
They chatted a bit and then, exchanged numbers.
"I thought, you know, he's a cop and he knows people and he knew what the district needed and I thought it would be more of that," she says.
Their phone conversations did start off with a focus on kids and community.
"He was super cute, but I definitely never thought it would go as far as it has -- I never would have thought that he would be my husband," she says. "We found out we were really interested in a lot of the same things. We would talk so long on the phone when we first started talking that we would actually fall asleep talking to each other, which was crazy because we were big, grown-up people."
A week or so after they met, they had dinner at Capers. Sometime after that they went to a shooting range, which Rosalynd thought was fun, and they climbed Pinnacle Mountain together, which Tommy did not.
He didn't wear the right shoes, he admits, because he wanted to look sharp for Rosalynd on that early date.
"And I'm afraid of heights," he says. "So we got halfway up the mountain and I started getting nervous because I wanted to make it to the top to impress my new girlfriend, which we never did."
His shoes slipped on the rocks, and then it started to rain. They retreated back down the trail ahead of the approaching storm and went to grab a bite to eat instead.
Rosalynd was a single mom, and she was cautious about having new people around her son, Riley.
"We actually dated a full year before I let him actually sit down and meet my son," she says. "I was just very protective. Once they met, it was like they had known each other for so long. My son loved him, and he loved Riley. I feel like him having that relationship with my son just kind of solidified it all for me."
Rosalynd went with Tommy to most of his speaking engagements after they started dating, which surprised him in the beginning.
"I would always tell her in advance that I had a speaking engagement, that I was going to visit a hospital or I was going to be speaking to a group of kindergartners or whatever. She would always make sure she was there," he says. "I had never experienced that before. She always supported my heart and my love for the community. She was always there, always by my side."
In November 2018, Tommy planned a birthday party for Rosalynd, hosting it in a private room at Samantha's Tap Room and Wood Grill. There were about 75 people there, and though Tommy routinely addresses even larger crowds the speech he was giving that night made him anxious.
"I was definitely out of my element," he says. "I could talk about community policing and neighborhoods all day, but this was something I wasn't doing every day."
In front of their friends and family members, Tommy asked Rosalynd to marry him.
"We all wore black, except Rosalynd -- that was her request. So I had on black pants and I kept feeling in my pocket all night for the ring I had a death grip on," he says. "But it was a really special day, a really special occasion."
Tommy and Rosalynd were married on July 6, 2019, in the Albert Pike Memorial Temple in downtown Little Rock.
While they were dating, Rosalynd mastered cooking.
"I would post pictures of Rosalynd's dinners on my social media and people would automatically ask, 'What restaurant are you at?'" he says. "I was like, 'I'm not at a restaurant -- I'm at home.' One of the ways to get to my heart is through my stomach, for sure."
After Tommy had a heart attack last year, Rosalynd adjusted her recipes to create healthier meals for them both.
Tommy is father to three adult children -- Mitchell, Jimmarica and Alyssa, who died in 2021. Rosalynd's son, Riley, is 10. They have four grandchildren.
Tommy and Rosalynd have collaborated on school events throughout their marriage.
"It was all God's doing, is what I like to say, because he found somebody and I did, too, and we both love the same things," Rosalynd says. "We love our community, we love kids, we love family -- so it all worked out."
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The first time I saw my future spouse:
She says: "I was impressed with his outfit. He was well put-together and I thought he was really clean."
He says: "She was obviously a beautiful woman — her looks obviously didn't hurt — but she was very approachable and very kind."
On our wedding day:
She says: "I was so excited to have all of our family and friends there. I was literally the first person to arrive at the venue that morning before the wedding, just to make sure everything looked good and everyone got in safely."
He says: "Having this woman I had been dating for the past six years and knowing we were finally saying I do was one of the happiest days of my life."
My advice for a long happy marriage:
She says: "Always communicate. Communicate with your spouse instead of taking your problems elsewhere."
He says: "Be supportive of your spouse. Approach your 10th year the same as your first year, and find ways to make your marriage fun and still seem new."