It was a bad sign. In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, Jessica Simpson sparked rumors of a split from husband Eric Johnson by posting a slew of Instagram photographs of herself sans a wedding band. She was also spotted without the jewelry this past November and December. “When Jessica and Eric are fighting, the ring comes off,” spills an insider exclusively to Life & Style, confirming that anytime she leaves the bling behind it’s not by accident. “It makes her feel like a fraud wearing her ring if they’re not getting along.”

But as their 10-year anniversary approaches this July, neither spouse is willing to give up on the romance that easily. In fact, Jessica, 43, and Eric, 44, were seen enjoying a cozy meal at Santa Monica hotspot Ivy at the Shore on February 14.

“Issues come up — just this year they’ve gone through ups and downs and faced challenges — but they’re both dedicated to the relationship,” notes the insider. “Jessica and Eric say couples counseling has really saved their marriage and taught them invaluable life lessons. Even when times are tough, they know to still make each other a priority — which is why Eric insisted on their Valentine’s Day dinner.”

Finding Balance

In the past, Jess has admitted she turned to alcohol to help her through the day-to-day. Although she got sober in 2017, the problems didn’t stop. Their main points of contention lately? Money — especially since their $11.5 million house in Hidden Hills, California, was used as collateral to buy back Jessica’s eponymous fashion label — says the insider, as well as her busy schedule. Last year, the “Irresistible” singer revealed that she was splitting her time between L.A. and Nashville while working on new music, leaving Eric alone in California to care for their three children, Maxi, 11, Ace, 10, and Birdie, 4.

“They’re in school,” she’s explained. “So I have two weeks [away], two weeks home.” While the situation has put pressure on their marriage, “Eric knows making music again has given Jess a renewed happiness,” says the insider of the former NFL tight end. “Sure, there are days he resents doing the heavylifting when it comes to parenting, but he realizes this time will pass and sets up weekend trips to Nashville with the kids to break things up a little.”

Reconnecting as a romantic couple during the jaunts is important, too. “Date nights are a must for Jessica and Eric,” says the insider. “They may seem like small gestures, but having alone time with each other makes a world of difference.”