Thank you for sharing your problem with us. It is very good to hear about the warm and close relationship you share with your husband.
You began by asking for advice on 'how to manage a family situation'. My answer to such a question will always be: do not manage it, accept it. The only person you have the right to manage is yourself. Other people are individuals in their own right. You are not responsible for them or their feelings and they are not responsible for yours. You are.
You wrote 'at times there are things which make me raise my eyebrows or down right leave me feeling uncomfortable'. This is not true. Nothing that happens can make you feel uncomfortable. It is your own interpretation of the situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. That is your responsibility. You can choose to interpret events in a different way, or perhaps better still, you can choose not to interpret them at all. Why choose to spend your time thinking about this at all when you could be turning your precious attention to the many wonderful things that go on around you every day including your children, your husband and the countless other life blessings that we so often take for granted?
Let us take the example of your sister-in-law bursting in on you and your husband. You say that 'it was as if she didn't want to be left out of that moment that Steve and I were sharing'. This is very definitely an interpretation that you are imposing on that event. There could be any number of reasons why this happened, including the 'trivial' reason that you tell us she gave as an explanation. Even if you are entirely correct about her motives, why do you have to interpret this as a bad thing? Why not just accept that she is a human being who has to deal with difficult emotions sometimes, wait until she leaves and then forget about it and carry on the beautiful moment with your husband?
When it comes to the photographs, why can't you simply allow a photograph of the siblings to be taken and then take other photographs with other people in as well? Bring your own camera along and then you can take whatever photographs you want.
You end your letter by saying that you are 'tired of always feeling like I'm an intruder'. The solution to that is very simple. Take responsibility for your own feelings. Stop giving other people power over your feelings by assigning importance to the things they do or don't do. Decide for yourself how you are going to feel. Decide for yourself what you are going to focus your thoughts on. Decide for yourself that you are a wonderful and worthy person regardless of what anybody else thinks, says or does. You don't need to label yourself as either accepted into the family or as an intruder. Just be wonderful and unique you.
If you really wish to influence your husband's family's behaviour, then the only way you can ever do this is by leading by example. If you want to be accepted and loved by his sisters, you have to totally love and accept them first. That includes totally accepting that they have some human frailties and have some difficulties dealing with their emotions sometimes. It includes totally accepting that they might, after however much time, be having difficulty loving you. Accept that and love them anyway. That is what love is. It neither needs nor expects anything in return.
You cannot ever directly change another person's behaviour. You always have to start by taking a look at yourself and changing your thoughts and behaviour. When you do that, you will see that circumstances ALWAYS change to reflect the change in yourself.
Concentrate on living, loving and enjoying your own life however you see fit. You do not ever need the approval of others. Whenever you seek that, you are compromising your personal integrity and giving away the personal power you have to create a beautiful life for yourself.
You may feel that my reply sounds a little unsympathetic. It is not intended that way. I am sure that your feelings and concerns seem very real to you and that you sincerely want to make the situation better for everyone involved. I am simply trying to help you understand that your feelings are never someone else's responsibility and that if you are unhappy about a situation, you should always start by looking to change yourself rather than trying to change the situation. Changes in our circumstances always naturally flow from changes within ourselves.
Much love to you,
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