In this counseling answer:
“It is your first and foremost priority to set the boundaries of this relationship in a way that would make all parties feel satisfied, not making you lose the love and respect of anyone. In addition, it is your total right to enforce the limits you want in your own house as long as it doesn’t violate the rights of any other person.”
As-Salamu `Alaikum dear sister,
Being generous and hospitable is, indeed, an appreciated quality that you and your husband have. Having good, warm relations with your extended family and in-laws is a great asset for you as you are having a wider network of emotional and social support which a person needs in his/her life.
In order to maintain and further develop such great qualities of hospitability and warm relations with family and in-laws, it is essential that either party, you or your husband, in particular, feel negatively affected. If one is negatively affected, s/he might not be able to feel the positive sides of this relationship, no matter how many they are.
So, it is your first and foremost priority to set the boundaries of this relationship in a way that would make all parties feel satisfied, not making you lose the love and respect of anyone. In addition, it is your total right to enforce the limits you want in your own house as long as it doesn’t violate the rights of any other person.
It is necessary that you talk to your husband about the issue. First, let him know that you appreciate his hospitability, that you think having guests is a blessing, and that you are happy at having good relations with your in-laws. Then let him know that you just have some points which are bothering you and you need his help with. Start talking about lacking privacy and freedom in your own home, boredom, feeling as a guest, etc. Keep the whole conversation in a friendly, calm tone, emphasizing every now and then how you like his family and like having your house open for guests from his family and from your family, too.
Then start suggesting that you both try to put some outlines for how you can make this situation work in a way that brings satisfaction to all parties. This is your own home where you should find comfort, peace, privacy, and freedom. Try to make him brainstorm with you to come up with some suggestions and ideas for implementing this.
In addition, I have to tell you that it is not accepted in Islam that you are left alone in the house with non-mahrams. I ask you to contact our Islamic scholars to have their opinion concerning this situation as I am not eligible to give a fatwa. So, you have to put this point in mind while thinking of creating guidelines for this situation.
Keep in mind also that it is your total right to set your personal boundaries and to set boundaries for your own family and your own house. This does not contradict with being nice and hospitable and maintaining warm relations and friendships with people. In fact, maintaining personal boundaries is what preserves and helps the growth of warm and sincere relationships with people, because boundaries ensure a win-win relation in which all parties are happy and satisfied.
May Allah give you the wisdom to deal with this situation and the strength to stand up for your rights and your boundaries. May He bless your marriage and keep the warm relations in your house.
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