Married at First Sight‘s Nick Pendergrast is embracing the unknown. After meeting his wife, Sonia Granados, at the altar on their wedding day, he’s learned the ins and outs of being married to a stranger. In an exclusive new interview with The Knot, Pendergrast shares his first impression of Granados, and how communication has played an important role in their marriage.
The 32-year old real estate agent, who’s a self-proclaimed introvert, made it a priority to enjoy his wedding day. He admits that “little things that happened brought up by friends or family after the fact, I have zero recollection of. I think I was just in the moment, taking it all in and focused on my new wife.”
“The absolute first thing I noticed when Sonia walked down the aisle was how beautiful she looked, and of course her smile,” the newlywed tells us. “I think the moment itself was so overwhelming for both of us; we both agreed some things we normally would have done or said were overlooked.”
As Pendergrast and his bride got to know one another, he realized they had similar likes and interests. “The first thing I noticed was how we like and dislike a lot of the same small things: mustard, pickles and olives all came up during small talk,” he shares with The Knot.
When asked if he found anything particularly aggravating about his wife at first, nothing comes to mind for Pendergrast. “No major annoyances right away,” he admits. “I think the phrase I came up with was ‘abnormally normal’ for the situation we were both in.
Although Married at First Sight viewers have yet to witness the couple’s first fight, Pendergrast is quick to admit this their first argument was the result of poor communication. “I think we both realized communication is key,” the newlywed explains. “I have even been giving guidance to some friends stating the same thing.”
“It’s hard to say if I would have handled it differently,” Pendergrast says as he remembers that first falling-out. “We were still getting to know each other at that point. How to react or respond, learn about how they do the same in certain scenarios, reading each other’s emotions through facial expressions, etc. It was a great experience to learn and grow from.”
After being chosen for Married at First Sight, Pendergrast shared the exciting news with his parents. His mom was concerned that her son would be matched with someone she didn’t like. But Pendergrast knew he could count on his mom throughout the process. “My mom has always been supportive of almost everything I’ve done, including every relationship I’ve had,” he tells The Knot. “She might have come off a little harsh in the first episode, but she is really an amazing person and they get along great!”
On their wedding day, Granados was looking for signs that her husband found her attractive. She opened up to her new mother-in-law about her concerns, who then encouraged her son to compliment his bride. “Opening up to someone you just met can obviously be hard to do; feelings are even harder!” Pendergrast admits to The Knot. “I have always been a little reserved until I feel comfortable enough to open up. The attraction was there for both of us. It may not have been verbally expressed, but I think we both felt it,” he shares.
Another aspect of the Married at First Sight process that viewers may not consider is the fact that the participants are adapting to cameras following their every move. Prior to the season 4 premiere, Granados told The Knot that she is self-conscious on-camera. We were curious if her husband feels the same way. “I think initially, yes,” Pendergrast tells us. “Being on camera was a little overwhelming, especially coming from someone who dislikes themselves in photos and the sound of my voice in videos makes me cringe!” he admits. “I think it’s something you get used to over time, though.”
The newlywed tells us that he “liked the unknown part of the process,” but he’s thankful he didn’t know that the “amount of private time without documentation [would be] surprisingly limited.” However, looking back, Pendergrast is glad he chose to be Married at First Sight. “It’s been an amazing experience. I think it has allowed me to experience new things, places, and emotions I would have never had the chance to do or feel otherwise,” he explains.
We asked Pendergrast to share his top three takeaways from the Married at First Sight experiment. “Communicate, communicate, and communicate,” he begins. “Learn your wife/husband’s love language. Yes, I said it. I think this will help a lot of couples understand, communicate, and show their significant other affection in a way that they understand.”
His final takeaway? “Be selfless. Always think things through from the other perspective and respond instead of react.” It seems his wife has helped Pendergrast learn to be more selfless. “I love how she always puts other people’s feeling first no matter what. She is the epitome of selfless,” he tells The Knot.
Although the newlywed can’t reveal the outcome of the experiment, he’s sharing his best and worst case scenarios. “Best case scenario, we eventually have lots of little Nick and Sonia’s running around,” he discloses. “Worst case, we both move on with our lives and appreciate the experiment we took part in and the experiences that we could never replace.”
Now that Pendergrast has navigated his way through a marriage, he’s offering three key pieces of advice to viewers:
- Buy The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
- Have moments where you allow your partner to tell you exactly what they want to say without any interruptions or reactions. Just let them vent in one full train of thought, then the other has the opportunity to do the same.
- Find something you can do personally to relieve stress or anxiety; for me it was golf. It could be yoga, tennis, working out, bike riding, etc. Just something… I think having personal time is important.
Married at First Sight airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FYI.