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hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

The Men We Need | Brant Hansen #587

On the Regular version of today’s show …

A conversation about men and what it is we really need from men in our marriages, families and societies with author Brant Hansen.

How can a guy who plays the flute and accordion and with puppets write a book about manliness?

What is so terrible about men who are passive?

What should we as men really be doing in our lives and relationships?

Learn more about Brant here 

On the Xtended version …

We talk about how our society has become the world of the perpetually offended, and what can we do about it. 

Enjoy the show!

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Speaker 1: You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio,

Corey Allan: Welcome to the show. I'm Dr. Corey Allan alongside my wife, Pam.

Pam Allan: Hola.

Corey Allan: Each and every week, we are here having conversations where sometimes it's us, sometimes we host the world's smartest relationship minds, because we want to help frame conversations for couples that, whatever might be going on in their marriage, we want them to face it better, because that helps create a deeper understanding of how relationships work, and then those conversations can propel your life and marriage forward. So if you're new to the show and you want an easy way to share, Pam, what we need to tell him how to do is go to the, which is our starter packs. And that gives a collection of our favorite episodes by topic, or even by most downloaded, and that just gives an easy way for people to start.

Pam Allan: Perfect.

Corey Allan: If you listen on Spotify, you can just search for us on Spotify and find it there. If you got some feedback for the show, something we missed, you want us to address something specifically, call us at (214) 702-9565, or email us at So coming up today, Pam, quite excited. You and I have had some conversations about this for the recording I had with Brant Hansen, who's a radio host, actually. A DJ, if you will, for Christian radio.

Pam Allan: And an author.

Corey Allan: And an author. A guy that's just trying to, he keeps showing up. That's kind of the impromptu bio about him is, he's just a guy that keeps showing up and people keep asking him to do things. So it's kind of worked out okay.

Pam Allan: Oh, there's a calling somewhere there that... I don't believe in coincidences. Things don't just happen, right?

Corey Allan: Correct. But we have a conversation about his book, The Men We Need. And after the conversation we've got some feedback at the end of the show today. And on the extended content today, which is deeper, longer, and there are no ads, go to to join. We go deeper into the idea of unoffendable, how we react to things, and how there's this righteous anger that's out there in the world. Maybe we're off base.

Pam Allan: Maybe.

Corey Allan: So all that's coming up on today's show. Well to those in the Sexy Marriage Radio Nation that may or may not know how much of a reader I am, but two months ago I came across Brant Hansen, and his book, Unoffendable. Plowed through that real quick, which then led me straight to the truth about us, which I absolutely loved because it's just that idea, the subtitle is very good news about how very bad we are, which I totally agree with. Then his most recent book is The Men We Need: God's Purpose for Manly Men, the Avid Indoorsman, or Any Man Willing to Show Up. So it is a huge honor to welcome Brent Hansen to the show today.

Brant Hansen: Thanks, man. I like that sexy marriage radio nation. That's cool.

Corey Allan: Well, I kind of look at it as anybody that listens to the show, they're part of the nation.

Brant Hansen: Yeah, I like that.

Corey Allan: It's just the way it goes.

Brant Hansen: I'm going to totally, I'm going to take that.

Corey Allan: It's yours. Take it.

Brant Hansen: Excellent.

Corey Allan: Totally fine.

Brant Hansen: Cool.

Corey Allan: So Brent, this is going to be fun because I've read a whole lot of books on men and Manliness. I do mastermind groups for men on just, the only hard and fast rule in these groups is you can't talk about what you do for a living, because that's usually just our go to, and then we don't go beyond. And so I was intrigued by your newest book and absolutely loved it. And I guess let's just start there. How did this come about?

Brant Hansen: Well, it's a great first question because I'm not the typical guy to write a man book. I'm more of a nerdy person. My coffee mug, I know people can't see it on the podcast, but it's the periodic table. But I have a puppet collection, I play the flute and the accordion. I was president of the Illinois Student Librarians Association for the entire state of Illinois, so.

Corey Allan: That's strong.

Brant Hansen: Yeah. I don't want to intimidate anybody with that, but it's a fact. It ain't bragging if you can back it up.

Corey Allan: Yep.

Brant Hansen: But I've been married long enough, 32 years, and my wife supports this, trying to pass some wisdom along. And my producer, my show, she's a single woman, she's in her 40s, and we've been working together for 10 years, and she grew up in Pittsburgh, steel workers, football players, hunters. She's like, what the heck is this guy? She shows up to my show and sees this weird manifestation of a man. And then she comes to my house and she's like, wait a second, this guy's onto something. He makes everybody feel secure around him. And she encouraged me to write this thing. And I think that is the nub, and when you get right down to it, what I try to get at it in the book, all the other stuff is just trappings of masculinity, I think. But when you get right down to it, this is the essence of it.

Corey Allan: Right, because you're talking about something deeper, because you even go with this idea that I love, you expounding on the idea of Adam, and the Bible, and the idea of he didn't show up in a lot of ways.

Brant Hansen: Right. And he had a job. And this is what I'm trying to say too, because so many people have deconstructed masculinity. Well, okay, a lot of that is good stuff. I mean, it's reasonable to deconstruct things that need to be blown up, but what's the construction? We actually need a vision of what we're supposed to be rather than what we're not supposed to be at some point. So I was trying to take a shot at it by saying, I think it's the job that Adam was given specifically at the beginning to be a keeper of the garden. That means a protector of this space and somebody who allows the people around him, or the vulnerable species to thrive, because he's who he is. It should be life giving.
People shouldn't feel threatened they should feel protected. So there's a lot to that. It's not just about physical protection. It's about, again, the people around me should be able to bloom because of me being a keeper of the garden. Obviously Adam totally blows it. He's utterly passive. He doesn't rise to the occasion and we're still suffering for that. But yeah, that's what I was trying to do is give that box top picture to the puzzle of what is masculinity. I think that's it.

Corey Allan: Yeah. And I love that because we are in a society right now, at the time of this recording, that it's tearing everything down, and some of the stuff absolutely needs to be, but then that immediately begs the question of, to replace with what?

Brant Hansen: Yeah, with what? So if you're a 17 year old guy, it's great to have deconstruction of toxic masculinity, but who am I? What the heck am I supposed to be doing? And if you don't have a vision for that, you're aiming at nothing, which means it's just nihilism and you're just bathing in nihilism, and video games, and pornography and whatnot. Unless you have a better vision, you can't replace all that garbage. Not that video games are garbage, actually, I still play them. But you know what I mean.

Corey Allan: No, I actually used your chapter with my son on the idea of, you don't play the first person ones because they're too immersive and you would love it too much and you would never get anything done. And so you're out of wisdom. I probably shouldn't do something I really, really love that much because could just, I could go overboard.

Brant Hansen: Yeah. I've taken that tack, instead of just a blanket, these things are evil. It's actually, the biggest problem is that they're too fun. And I have to look at myself and reasonably say, like to your son, look, we don't want to be a guy who sits and has pretend adventures. And it's so fun, it's easy to level up, you get a dopamine rush, it's easier than real life, but that's not who we want to be. And usually even a 14 year old could be like, yeah, I get that.

Corey Allan: I get it. It's a good escape, but it's not something that provides a whole lot of meaning long term.

Brant Hansen: No.

Corey Allan: That I feel really successful in conquering of things.

Brant Hansen: Right. It's fake. You've got this drive to conquer things, or to do the right thing, or defend, or perform heroic deeds. That drive shouldn't be met through fake life.

Corey Allan: Right, although that is a lot of what the world proposes.

Brant Hansen: Absolutely. But it's such a rope a dope, because for guys especially, but for women too, it's just like, this feels like the real thing. And then pow, you're left with just yourself over and over and over. And that seems to be the nature of hell. People choose it because it looks good, and then bam, oh, were suffering.

Corey Allan: Yeah. So you alluded to this earlier. I love the concept of, men in passivity is one of the bigger issues that even started with Adam in the sense that he was passive. He didn't show up.

Brant Hansen: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Expound on that.

Brant Hansen: Well, I've heard people call it toxic passivity, and I think it's very true. And in Adam's case, I always thought, maybe you did too, but I honestly always thought when the tempter shows up with Eve that Adam was two miles away naming hippos and giraffes and stuff. And so he didn't know what was going on. But if you actually read the biblical account, it sounds like he's right there.

Corey Allan: Right.

Brant Hansen: He's just not doing anything. And this is what you're tasked to do. So he doesn't do anything, he's utterly passive, he even has Eve hand him the fruit. He doesn't even reach up and grab it. So I do see that a lot. And I know you probably encounter this a lot in what you do in your work, but I've heard from counselors that passive guys and marriage are a big thing, and it's, in some cases it's more prevalent that they're finding than actually the toxic he man, I'm going to run and domineer everything.

Corey Allan: Yeah. That's a much more common trait from my experience, too. And I think what it devolves into more often is, it's the passive husband and controlling wife. And neither one of them are really good at either one of those roles.

Brant Hansen: Right. Yeah.

Corey Allan: Nor do they want to be one of those roles.

Brant Hansen: No, we don't need either person to be either one of those things. We don't need that flip flopped. We don't need. But a man who actually understands his role... What I was trying to say in this book too, and I hope this came through. I imagine it did. I wasn't telling guys, you should be this keeper of the garden because women find it highly attractive, but they do. So it should be very instructive about who we really are when we're at our best, because my wife, even though I'm not a handy man, even though I have neurological problems, shouldn't really be shooting guns and stuff. I'm none of those things. Last time I was on a motorcycle I hit a parked truck, and that's a true story.
Even though I'm not those things, when I do show a willingness to do whatever it takes to defend her or make her feel secure, or my family, or neighbors, or a little kids, she finds that extremely attractive. So I'm telling guys, it's not a mystery why always the most attractive occupation for a man, according to women, is firefighter. Always. It always shows up number one, because there's this thing about, a guy who's willing to go into a fire to rescue a child, that women will always find attractive, and it should show us, it should point us to something, because women are so brilliant and intuitive about who we're supposed to be.

Corey Allan: Right. Yeah. And I think a close second in that survey is podcasters. Right? Podcast hosts?

Brant Hansen: If only.

Corey Allan: Exactly.

Brant Hansen: Yeah. I'm the radio guy. The only time that we show up is, the most narcissistic jobs, radio people. Dang it.

Corey Allan: Well, okay. Maybe they're sampling the wrong people. We can go with that.

Brant Hansen: Yeah. That's what I say. But-

Corey Allan: But yet-

Brant Hansen: ... I was just going to say, on the passive thing, a lot of times we don't identify that as threatening to our wives because we're so passive, but it is threatening.

Corey Allan: No, I mean-

Brant Hansen: It's unsettling.

Corey Allan: Yeah, because it sets up this scenario where too often, particularly if kids are involved, and most of the people in the nation probably have experienced this in some regards if you have kids in your relationship, that you have another kid to take care of in a lot of ways, because he doesn't stand up and make decisions, he doesn't take care of what he's responsible to take care of. And then you wonder, and this is the thing I love whenever guys ask me, "I don't understand. My sex life is horrible. My passion is gone." I'm like, "Okay, well, are you acting like a child? Because it's likely she's not going to want to have sex with a child."

Brant Hansen: That's exactly right. Oh man. And the passivity undermines everything. And by passivity, again, I mean this question in a woman's mind of whether he will actually do what needs done, whether he's really engaged or not, because she's thinking, am I going to wind up on my own? Do I have to do everything for myself? Am I the only one who really cares about this. Are the kids and I the only... Do I have another child in the house? That's so unsettling. And again, so unattractive. So I have to be aware of that. I can sit and play FIFA on my PlayStation for hours, but I have to be aware that if I'm not engaged with real life and do stuff, my wife is not going to find that to be particularly hot.

Corey Allan: Right.

Brant Hansen: Because she's like, you're being childish, at some point.

Corey Allan: And this is what's so great, the way you've framed this is, it's not that's not an okay thing to do is play FIFA, but set some guidelines for yourself and stop.

Brant Hansen: Absolutely.

Corey Allan: And then reengage, because everybody escapes. Everybody wants-

Brant Hansen: Absolutely.

Corey Allan: ... moments of just joy, or getting lost in some other world, but then come out of it and be a part of the world again.

Brant Hansen: Well look, I'm a Tolkien fan, but if I'm ignoring issues in life just to be in Middle earth in my brain, which frankly I generally am, but if I'm ignoring issues in life, that's very indicative to her that I'm not being the man I could have been, or should be right. That she hoped I was going to be.

Corey Allan: Right.

Brant Hansen: These are things that a woman is hoping. And what I was trying to say in the book too, none of this is chauvinistic or misogynistic.

Corey Allan: No.

Brant Hansen: What I'm saying is the opposite. If guys had this role of keeper of the garden, they understood it and they did it, our neighborhoods would be safer. There would be no need for a Me Too movement.

Corey Allan: Right.

Brant Hansen: Because that's a betrayal of the role of a keeper of the garden is to actually be a threat to a woman or to a vulnerable person. It's the exact opposite. So everybody benefits, again, if we actually do inhabit this role.

Corey Allan: And so, just to, I'm curious, because you go through this, and you've talked about this before, and some of the other things I've seen of you, the ways guys can show up, because what the world proposes is the machismo, hey, this is what you're supposed to do. Go out and conquer this, or go on this big grand adventure, or go hunt, or go whatever. But in reality, it's a whole lot more variety than that.

Brant Hansen: Totally. And that's a wonderful thing for somebody like me. And that's why I include avid indoorsman. Most guys book, and you know this, and it's not a slam on them, but I had to tell my own publisher, they're like, "So the cover, we have some cover ideas." I'm like, "Do not do a cover where it's a silhouette of a dude standing on top of a mountain flexing or whatever." I don't climb mountains. Nothing against it, but there's an awful lot of us whose everyday lives are not meme worthy, and we're not silhouetted all the time against something awesome.
The daily life, you might be an IT professional, you might be a podcaster, you might be a therapist, you might be whatever. But in those roles I'm telling guys, if you reorient those roles to becoming a keeper of the garden in your roles, where you protect the vulnerable, use whatever resources you have. Maybe it's through giving, maybe it's through knowing people in your neighborhood, but it gives life to you because you'll find it energizing. But I've had, again, I'm very thankful for this, but even in my nerdy way, it's like, I'm good with words, generally. I mean, I need to be for radio, generally. And the funny thing is I'm having a halting difficult time talking about this. I'm good with words.

Corey Allan: I'm good with words. Watch what I'm going to stream together here. Yes.

Brant Hansen: I'm so gooder than you guys. No, I get to use my words for this ministry I work with called CURE, which CURE has these hospitals around the world. These are kids that have correctable disabilities, so I help these hospitals get funding to provide surgeries to kids that are abused. And they could, if they just had access to surgeries, they could walk. And we get to tell them about Jesus. So I'm coming from that angle. That's who we are. But to be a part of all these kids' stories, even though I'm not a he-man protector, that kind of guy. I still am a protector, I just use my words to do it.

Corey Allan: Right.

Brant Hansen: And that's true, just as one more thing, that's true in your own home. And I mentioned this in the books, someone else had given this example, a lot of us guys will pat ourselves on the back, like, "Yeah, if there's an intruder in our house, I will stand up, and I'll never let somebody attack my wife. I will do whatever it takes." That's good. That's a good starting point. But one guy had the realization, he said, "I realized most of the time that actually doesn't happen. But what does happen is the intruder is me with my words. I'm actually destabilizing instead of building up so my wife can bloom and thrive. I'm actually destabilizing or cutting her down, or subtly not blessing her with my words." So it could start right there. No matter what your job is, no matter whether you're ripped or whatever, doesn't matter. You can start with your words.

Corey Allan: And I think the distinction of what I'm hearing you talk about, Brant, is this idea of, it's not that I'm just buttering her up. It couples with all we've talked about thus far. It's my presence. It's my engagement. It's my sharing of myself and inviting of her to do the same. And that's just good relational dynamic.

Brant Hansen: Yeah, it is. And it's funny, because as I talked about this on one show fairly recently, and one of the comments I happened to catch on the YouTube was a guy actually said, "Oh, so you're talking about total emasculation then." I'm like, "No, I'm talking about actually listening to your wife. Actually, listening is not emasculation. And if you think it is the irony is," and I could say this on the Sexy Marriage Podcast, "you'll have less sex if you don't listen to your wife. The emasculation thing, bro. Mm-mm. This is it. This life giving protector, keeper of the garden, I want people to thrive around me role is, again, it's life giving in so many different areas."

Corey Allan: And that's that idea of what we just talked about earlier too, of the passivity is the emasculating.

Brant Hansen: Yes.

Corey Allan: That's what that is, actually.

Brant Hansen: Yes. And you can be passive and be totally jacked, but see if guys mistake what masculinity is the weird thing is your wife will not like you and she will not be attracted to your muscle. She actually will resent them, because you're not being this keeper of the garden that she knows, whether she can articulate it or not, she knows that's who she wanted you to be. And you can spend all the time in the gym, you can have a giant, awesome truck. You can do all that stuff. She will actually be unsettled and will resent you for it. Conversely, you can be a little out of shape, you can drive whatever small little, but she can find you extremely attractive if you're this kind of engaged guy who gets it.

Corey Allan: Right, because that's what you're describing, is the synergy that happens between males and females.

Brant Hansen: Yeah.

Corey Allan: That a lot of times, if one of us doesn't show up and play our role, and that's not a distinct, here's a defined small little... It's uniquely who you are, and engagement in that life, then they will react and respond to that, which then you will react and respond to, and that's the vicious cycle that we can easily get into in marriage.

Brant Hansen: Yeah, it can be a terrible cycle. Conversely, as you know, it can become virtuous, but it takes ownership on both parts. And again, if we don't have a vision for what that ownership looks like, then we've got a problem.

Corey Allan: Right. And I love that framework because it's talking about there's something more that we need to be doing, because I think that's also deep into the DNA of humans is-

Brant Hansen: Yes.

Corey Allan: ... is we know, getting that next house, or getting that next job, we all deeply know it's not going to sustain me.

Brant Hansen: Right.

Corey Allan: It's not going to fulfill in the long run.

Brant Hansen: Right. And that's what I appreciate about your emphasis in what you're doing, to say change is good. We're all becoming something. God is very interested in who we're becoming. That's his chief interest as far as I can understand it. And so that's based on what we're doing today. What we're paying attention to today will determine everything for the future. So that can start today, so it's really an opportunity. It's not a guilt trip. If you've blown it, so have I, but man, we can start this today and there's going to be some pretty immediate effects.

Corey Allan: I mean, some of the easiest ways, because this is what I still do. I'll have times with Pam, she'll be unloading because I'm married to a woman, she's a tax accountant, and so when it gets into the thick of things she offloads her day to transition into home life sometimes. So it's a lot of listening to her, which I can easily do that, because that's what I do for a living, is listen. But there're times where I'll be listening, quote, unquote, but not paying attention. And when I recognize that, the moving back into, "Oh, I'm sorry, honey. I checked out for a second. Where were you?" And that's a recalibrating right back into presence.

Brant Hansen: Yes. And again, that's life giving to her. And she can be a star at work. She can do her stuff well. She can feel secure. That's going to help her thrive.

Corey Allan: And the cool thing of that is sometimes, if that happens to me and I'll reorient back in, she can sometimes check it as, "Yeah, okay. I'm just blabbering on and on and on. I don't even know what I'm still talking about anymore. Okay. What about this?" And now all of a sudden we transition into home.

Brant Hansen: Yeah, that's cool. Good. Yeah. So that need was met.

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Brant Hansen: That's great.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. Well Brant, this has been fun, and I can't thank you enough for the work that you do, the messages you send, and would love it if you'd let the nation know, how can they find you?

Brant Hansen: Well, is the way to do it. And it's B-R-A-N-T. It's Brant with an a. And then Hanson, H-A-N- S-E-N. And we do a podcast. It's called the Brant & Sherri Oddcast. We've been doing that for a while too. And it's available in all the usable places.

Corey Allan: Perfect. Well, I've enjoyed the conversation thus far and I look forward to transitioning here in just a second to the extended content with you.

Brant Hansen: Cool.

Corey Allan: So I'm curious what your takeaways are, Pam, from the conversations with Brant today? What stood out to you?

Pam Allan: Well, number one, he said I was brilliant.

Corey Allan: Yes, he did think you were brilliant.

Pam Allan: I liked him before when I read Unoffendable. I really loved him as an author. Now I really like him. I think he's a genius.

Corey Allan: Okay. And so to get in on this other validation that you've got going on here, I want to get on it too, because he thought my perception of you was brilliant too, so.

Pam Allan: No, back to it. So showing up, I just think this is key, right?

Corey Allan: Yeah.

Pam Allan: Just the whole point of, so many times people don't realize that I've got to do this, I've got to do that. And what they're doing is not even just showing up, they're not being present where they are. I can provide all day long, but when I'm in the house with my family, if I'm not showing up with them, that speaks volumes.

Corey Allan: I was fascinated with his take. It's a similar thing that, he took a little bit of a different slant that I've thought of on the idea of, Adam was quiet during Eve's deception and sin, ultimately eating the fruit. And I loved his idea of the main point is for men, we need to tend the garden. It's that same concept of show up. What am I responsible for? And then the other thing I really loved was his idea of, those around me should flourish because of my presence.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: That's a huge marker than more than just providing. I provide rooms and environments for them to flourish as a good man.

Pam Allan: We've had a lot of that popping up in our world of late. We were at a thing at church talking about, don't come in and be the hero, be a hero maker. Be a big cheerleader for others and able them to be better. And that's an amazing thing as a parent, as a spouse, to be there to allow those around you to flourish.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. That's not just exclusively to men then, that's exclusively to every that's every one of us.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Yeah. Every husband, every wife, every mother, every father, friends. Let's let the people around us flourish and be excited when they do. I think if Ronald Reagan, who, he didn't want credit for what he was doing, he just wanted what was good for the country. Right?

Corey Allan: Yeah. His statement said, "We can get a whole lot done if you don't care who gets the credit."

Pam Allan: Exactly.

Corey Allan: That's a great comment from Ronald Reagan.

Pam Allan: Exactly.

Corey Allan: Well, if you like the show and you want to help us out by rating and reviewing SMR do so please on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or however you listen. Your comments help us spread the word about the show and help others frame their conversations about what goes on behind closed doors. Transcripts are available for all the shows in the notes on each episode's page. All of our advertisers deals and discount codes are also on each of the episodes page at Please consider supporting those who support the show. The greatest compliment that people can give us, Pam, about the show is to share it with those that they care about. Remember, we improve those around us when we improve ourselves and we make them the heroes. In line with our conversation today. So take on yourself first by applying what you hear on our show each and every week. Thanks for listening. And we hope to see you again next time.