Married at First Sight‘s Nick Pendergrast was once known for his easygoing nature, but that perception drastically changed several weeks ago on FYI’s wildly popular social experiment. The season 4 participant famously lost his cool during an argument with his wife, Sonia Granados, and viewers were shocked to witness a different side of the Miami native.
In the wake of his talked-about outburst, the 32-year-old vacation rental manager opens up exclusively to The Knot about the stressful six-week experiment and where he stands with Sonia.
On his wedding day, Pendergrast thought his wife looked beautiful, but that initial attraction waned as they proceeded through marriage. The newlywed explains that he perceives attraction beyond the physical connection.
“I think the word attraction can be misinterpreted,” he muses to The Knot. “Everyone immediately thought it had to do with physical attraction. [That’s] understandable, but especially in this process, the attraction can be heightened or lessened by other variables too.” For example?,”The other person’s personality at times,” says Pendergrast. “The way they handle certain situations. The way we generally interact on a person-to-person level. It’s a constant roller coaster of emotions.”
Pendergrast’s emotions resulted in a rather uncomfortable, near-meltdown on television that memorable night. “It had all boiled down to the attraction, which again wasn’t primarily focused on physical attraction,” he reiterates.
One-too-many cocktails are partially to blame for the late-night altercation. Pendergrast tells The Knot that he’s not a casual drinker, and “a little liquid reality check and some courage” mixed with “some built-up internalized frustration” perpetuated his outburst. When his wife was unable to vocalize what she meant by “opening up,” Pendergrast was pushed beyond “the point of no return.”
The fact that the couple was being filmed didn’t help the situation. “The cameras always add to the stress when you’re on day six or seven in a row and it’s 1 a.m.,” he explains. “But [the cameras] also forced us to face a lot up front and not put it on the back burner.”
Pendergrast admits that he has regrets about that night. His wife, meanwhile, didn’t realize just how upset he was until the episode aired on television in late September. “I could only imagine how she must have felt,” Pendergrast says now that the show has aired.
Looking back, the self-proclaimed introvert only wanted to be genuine in expressing his emotions. “I just wanted to be true to myself and authentic, and not come across as fake, and feel forced to act a certain way.”
Following the incident, Granados encouraged her Twitter followers to refrain from saying mean or hurtful things about Pendergrast, which he appreciated. Meanwhile, he avoided social media. “It was a hard week for sure, and I tried to stay away from social media and focus on other things to distract myself from being sucked into reading comment after comment,” Pendergrast recalls. “I now entertain social media in a different light for sure! Not everyone is going to like you or view you how you want them to. I kept to the theme of wanting to be authentic, though, and the tweets, Instagram posts, etc. are really me and my thoughts and photos portraying my mood in that moment.”
During the feud, Granados was floored when her husband stated that he shouldn’t have to work at their marriage. “I’m sure the general idea was, ‘This shouldn’t be this hard,’ but to say I thought I just had to show up and not work was probably a little bit extreme,” Pendergrast admits.
The last time The Knot spoke to the newlywed, he recommended that couples read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The best-selling book helps readers understand how they receive love (through words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and/or physical touch).
Around the time of the couple’s argument, the Married at First Sight experts suggested the book to Pendergrast. “Sonia is 100% accepting of words of affirmation and physical touch, whereas mine is acts of kindness and gift-giving. With those two extremes, it can be hard to find an overlap where everyone is sending and receiving and more importantly acknowledging,” he explains.
Six weeks may not seem like an abundant amount of time, but Pendergrast has learned a lot throughout the concentrated process. “Being selfless was my biggest takeaway,” he tells The Knot. “I’m sure if I were more self-aware in the moment and put myself in her shoes, that outburst wouldn’t have been so extreme, or maybe not even have happened at all!”
Pendergrast and Granados have been supported throughout the Married at First Sight process. “I think [our families] have continued to be supportive of us. Family has been a big part of the positivity in our marriage,” Pendergrast shares. “Learning how to talk with one another instead of at one another was something else that can continually be worked on.”
After the couple’s dispute, Granados briefly moved back to her old apartment. “Honestly, I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Pendergrast tells us. “This process keeps you on your toes, and sometimes things come up that weren’t expected – just like any other aspect of your life. I can say, we were both prepared and dedicated to the process, to embrace and bounce back from the ups and the downs.”
Both Pendergrast and his wife denied consummating their marriage to the Married at First Sight experts, but on the latest episode, Granados revealed that the duo had been intimate on more than one occasion. Pendergrast waited until his wife was ready to make their intimacy public knowledge.
“I think in this process, sex was a way to try to build that intimacy level,” he explains to The Knot. “We are legally married, and it is something that married couples regularly participate in. Maybe if this was some time ago, it would have been looked down upon, but I think it actually helps other physical intimacy levels across the board.”
He is quick to admit that decision day was difficult. “Decision day is stressful, and we both openly acknowledge that,” he says. “But I think we trust and respect one another to not pull a fast one last minute. I’m sure there will be a conversation about what we are thinking of deciding and why at some point.”
Because viewers only see snippets of the couples’ relationships, it’s sometimes difficult to read how the marriages are going. “I think some of the time what you see is what you get,” Pendergrast shares of his on-screen persona. “Other times, an awkward silence with crickets and a double take makes me laugh, but it’s all real and all me. I just wanted to be true to myself, even though it can be hard to live 100% authentically under a microscope and with a camera around all the time… and a producer(s), sound guy, lighting guy etc., but we all knew what we were getting into.”
Pendergrast has learned a lot about communication throughout the experiment. “This process has taught me so much about myself,” he concludes. “How to treat people and how to sit back and think about how your thoughts and actions might affect others before you act upon them. Sometimes talking about certain things after a couple of glasses of wine at dinner isn’t the best idea. I think learning how to respond and not react was another big take away for me.”
Pendergrast had to break the rules (for good reason!) when The Knot asked him to describe his Married at First Sight experience in one to three words. “This is in gonna be in four words… ‘Marriage isn’t for punks,'” he concludes, quoting Pastor Calvin Roberson.
Tune in to Married at First Sight on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FYI.